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.