WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 19, 2009 - The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”), expressed disappointment with the health care reform bill released by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) late last night in front of a meeting of the Democratic Caucus.
The legislation includes a government-run health insurance plan (‘public option’) that the Big “I” opposes because it would unfairly compete with the private insurance marketplace. The association points to the current government-run health insurance plans as ample evidence that the federal government sets its own rules and there is nothing fair or level about them.
“We do not believe any state legislature or governor will ‘opt’ to take away an entitlement bestowed upon their citizens by the federal government and federal taxpayers,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Especially since the citizens of that state cannot ‘opt out’ of paying for the public option. Therefore, the ‘opt-out’ is not a viable compromise and it is synonymous with the ‘robust’ public option.”
The legislation has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as costing $849 billion over ten years. CBO has also determined that the legislation would provide health insurance coverage to 31 million Americans currently without insurance and would reduce the federal deficit by $127 billion. The legislation is largely paid for by taxes on “Cadillac” insurance plans and a half a percentage point increase in Medicare taxes on couples earning more than $250,000 a year.
“As the Senate takes on this legislation, the Big ‘I’ urges senators to consider the detrimental impact this bill could have on consumers and small businesses,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs.
The 2,074 page bill is an attempt to combine the work product from the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate HELP Committee, which each passed separate versions of the health care reform legislation earlier in the year.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.