House Panel Votes To Separate Agents’ Payments From Health Law’s MLR Rules

Topics: Insurance, Marketplace, Politics, Health Reform

Sep 12, 2012

On a largely party-line vote, the subcommittee voted to modify the provision of the 2010 health law. A vote by the full Energy and Commerce Committee is expected next week.

CQ HealthBeat: Health Insurance Broker Payments, Cancer, Pediatrics Research Backed By Panel
A House Energy and Commerce panel advanced several health-related bills Tuesday, including a controversial measure that would modify a consumer protection provision in the 2010 health care overhaul. The measure, which the Health Subcommittee approved by voice vote, would amend the law’s provision on medical loss ratios in an effort to protect the earnings of insurance brokers and agents (Khatami and Phenicie, 9/11).

The Hill: House Panel Votes To Carve Out Insurance Agents From New Health Care Rules
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) would remove insurance agents’ commissions from the health law’s medical loss ratio (MLR) calculation. The MLR provision requires insurance companies to spend 80 or 85 percent of their premiums on medical costs, leaving only the remaining 15 or 20 percent for administrative costs and profit. Companies that don’t meet the standard must pay a rebate (Baker, 9/11).

Politico Pro: House Panel Backs Insurance Broker Bill
House Democrats in a subcommittee markup Tuesday afternoon said they were happy that Republicans were holding votes on a series of bipartisan health bills — except for one controversial piece of legislation that would exclude agent and brokers fees from the 2010 health care law’s limits on insurers’ administrative expenses. And even that one, the Democrats noted, a bit tongue-in-cheek, didn’t involving dismantling the health law. The broker measure passed on a party-line vote — although it’s likely to pick up a few Democratic votes when it reaches the full committee (Millman, 9/11).

In other Capitol Hill news, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, expresses budget deal doubts while Democrats attack GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.

Los Angeles Times: Boehner ‘Not Confident’ Budget Deal Can Be Reached
As Moody’s Investors Service threatened to downgrade the United States’ top debt rating,  House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday he doubted Congress could reach a bipartisan budget deal to avoid that potentially dangerous outcome. … Yet the political dynamic remains the same now as it did then: Republicans refuse to raise taxes by allowing current tax rates on wealthier Americans to expire, as the president wants; Democrats resist cuts to Medicare or other domestic programs unless the GOP agrees to new revenue (Mascaro, 9/11).

The Washington Post: Democrats In Congress Try To Put Paul Ryan Back In Campaign Spotlight
Democrats this week have focused floor speeches on Ryan’s budget proposal, which would achieve trillions of dollars in savings by turning Medicaid into a block-grant program run by the states and by creating a private insurance option for Medicare. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Democratic leader, used his floor speech honoring victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to criticize Ryan for not “asking some sacrifice” — such as reduced military spending or higher taxes on the wealthy (Kane, 9/11).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.


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