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Just as Congress moves into high gear on health overhaul legislation, insurance trade groups with a big stake in the outcome are packing the halls of the Capitol with members making the case against a public plan to their home-state politicians. Wednesday saw the arrival on the Hill of more than 1,000 members of four associations whose members are deeply involved in the private health insurance process: the Association of Health Insurance Advisors, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and the National Association of Health Underwriters.
They are agents, brokers, consultants, financial planners and employee benefits experts from 49 states, and often influential people in their communities who may have longtime ties with members of Congress.
Lobbyists for the groups say that in normal times, the four associations — which together represent some 500,000 members — don’t necessarily agree on policy. But with the very real prospect of a government-sponsored insurance plan as a key part of bills in both the House and Senate, possibly threatening members’ jobs and business models, it was time to mobilize en masse.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”