The High Deserts Social Network Blog…

Court Reviews Health Challenge

An Atlanta federal appeals court questioned Wednesday whether upholding the health-care overhaul law could lead to Congress adopting other broad economic mandates.

Getty Images

The court’s three-judge 11th Circuit panel heard arguments in the 26-state challenge to the law, as it reviewed the January decision by Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Fla., finding the law unconstitutional. (Please see “Judge Rejects Health Law.”)

During almost three hours of oral arguments, the judges asked pointed questions about the law’s individual mandate, which the federal government says is needed to expand coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, according to an article in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. The court did not indicate when it would rule.

Small-business proponents, including the National Federation of Independent Business and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have voiced opposition to the health law, arguing that it costs too much for small companies.

“Today is a great day for small-business owners and for all Americans who believe in the individual right to determine the time and circumstances under which they will enter the health insurance marketplace,” said Karen Harned, executive director for the NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, in a statement.

Separately, today’s WSJ highlights a study predicting that 30% of U.S. employers will drop their healt… once the overhaul takes effect. In surveying 1,300 employers earlier this year, McKinsey & Co. found that at least 30% would gain economically from dropping coverage even if they completely compensated employees through other benefits or higher salaries. Further, nearly half said they would consider alternatives to their current plans after 2014, such as dropping coverage and switching to a defined-contribution plan, thereby offering coverage only to certain employees.

June 10, 2011 Posted by | palmdale insurance | , , , , | Leave a comment

This week’s health care reform news

While the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) medical loss ratio (MLR) and rate review provisions have been getting most of the media attention, a new coalition of business organizations has come together to draw attention to another important requirement of the ACA. Calling themselves Stop the HIT on Small Business, more than 25 national business organizations have joined forces to work toward repeal of new taxes the ACA would impose on private health insurance starting in 2014. Business leaders behind the effort say that small business owners, their employees and the self-employed will ultimately bear the brunt of $87 billion in additional health care costs in the first 10 years as a result of the new taxes. The group is planning Capitol Hill outreaches and grassroots efforts.


Support is growing in Congress (over 80 co-sponsors) for Mike Rogers’ (R-MI) and John Barrows’ (D-GA) legislation that would exclude agent commissions from the MLR calculation.  Currently, commissions count as administrative expenses in calculating insurers’ MLRs.  This support was highlighted in a House hearing last week before the Health Subcommittee of the Energy & Commerce Committee, where the larger issue of the MLR burden was front and center.  Witnesses representing agents and brokers, insurers and academia all testified against the unintended, negative consequences of the MLR requirement, with agents and brokers in particular noting the direct financial impact to small business and individual agents and their families. The Rogers/Barrows bill would simply not factor commissions into the MLR calculation. The day before the hearing, Congressman Tom Price ((R-GA) introduced an even more aggressive bill, as his proposal would repeal outright the MLR provision of ACA.  While it is unlikely that either bill will get traction in the Senate on its own, bipartisan support for the agents and genuine concern about unintended consequences puts this issue in play as part of any potential mega-deal on the budget/deficit/debt ceiling issue over the next few months. The Senate was not in Session last week; and the House is out this week.

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Antelope Valley Insurance, lancaster life insurance | , , , , | Leave a comment