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Producer Groups Urge Congress Not to Rush Health Care Reform

Proposed Action Could Bypass Proper Deliberation and Debate



WASHINGTON, April 22, 2009 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA),
AHIA – NAIFA Health & Employee Benefits (AHIA), The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB), National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) today joined forces in a letter to congressional leaders urging them to oppose efforts to include health care reform in the budget reconciliation instructions.

The organizations represent health insurance advisors, agents, brokers, consultants and employee benefit specialists.

Each year when Congress writes the budget resolution, they may include reconciliation instructions for the purpose of legislating mandatory spending and tax revenue policy proposals. Under normal Senate operating procedures, it takes 60 votes to prevent a filibuster and pass legislation. With reconciliation, it only takes 51 votes to gain passage of a measure.

The text of the letter follows.
       

April 22, 2009

The Honorable Kent Conrad                         The Honorable John Spratt  
Chairman, Senate Budget Committee             Chairman, House Budget Committee  
The Honorable Judd Gregg                            The Honorable Paul Ryan
Ranking Member, Senate Budget Committee  Ranking Member, House Budget Committee

Dear Chairmen Conrad and Spratt and Ranking Members Gregg and Ryan:

We, the undersigned organizations, representing health insurance advisors, agents, brokers, consultants and employee benefit specialists, are writing to strongly urge you to exclude health care reform from the budget reconciliation instructions.  An issue of this magnitude deserves its due consideration under regular order.

We applaud Congress and the Administration for making health care reform a top priority this year and agree that this legislation must be a bipartisan product with consultation and cooperation from the American public as well as stakeholders representing all sides.  However, we fear the spirit of bipartisan cooperation will be lost if regular order is put aside and the reconciliation process is utilized to fast track health care reform legislation.  The future of the nation’s health care system deserves nothing less than an open, bipartisan and transparent debate by Congress.

As you begin deliberations in the conference committee, we hope you will support the Senate position and oppose any effort to inject health care reform into the budget reconciliation instructions.

Thank you for your attention and consideration to this very important issue.

Sincerely,
AHIA – NAIFA Health & Employee Benefits (AHIA)
The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB)
Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA)
National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA)

CC: United States Senate
United States House of Representatives
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
The Honorable Nancy Ann DeParle
The Honorable Peter Orszag


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