A coalition led by the US Council of Insurance Agents and
Brokers (CIAB) has been formed to oppose the swift implementation
of health insurance reform, a key objective of President Barack
Obama and Democrat Party leaders. If approved the impact on private
health insurers and brokers could be devastating.
As matters now stand, reform centred on the proposed creation of
a public health plan will be included in the reconciliation of the
2010 budget announced by the president in February 2009.
In essence, during the budget reconciliation process a proposal
requires only 51 votes in its favour in the Senate to be approved.
With the Democratic Party holding 58 seats in the Senate approval
of a public health plan would be assured.
Coalition members have voiced concern over the rapidity of the
In a joint statement sent to the members of Congress and Senate
sitting on Federal budget committees, the coalition said: “We fear
the spirit of bipartisan cooperation
will be lost if regular order is put aside and the reconciliation
process is utilised to
fast-track health care reform legislation.”
In addition to the CIAB, members of the coalition are the National
Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, the Independent
Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and the National
Association of Health Underwriters.
Underscoring the coalition’s concerns is a statement by Nancy Ann
DeParle, the director of the White House Office of Health
“A public plan is something that is sponsored by the government and
therefore has very low or almost non-existent administrative costs
compared to others,” said DeParle in the statement published on 19
“As such, the plan does not have the need to have brokers out
selling, it would not have the need to have a lot of cost and
profits the way private plans would, so it has that
Under current proposals for creation of a public health plan
consultancy The Lewin Group estimates that the private health
insurance industry could loose between 10.4 million and 32 million
members (see LII 234).