WASHINGTON, D.C., May 11, 2017—Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered a keynote address to the annual Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) Large Agent/Broker & CEO Dinner.
Rep. Walden discussed the health care debate and his efforts to repeal and replace the controversial Affordable Care Act (ACA). He said he believes it is causing a crisis and that the states should be empowered to make decisions that best serve their residents.
“If you look around the country right now, last year there were 225 counties in America where if you bought your insurance on the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare exchanges you had one choice,” said Rep. Walden. “This year, it’s 1,022 counties where people who have to get their insurance on the federal health insurance exchange are now down to one choice.”
Regarding the consequences of the ACA in the state exchanges, Rep. Walden said, “This market is in collapse.”
Congress needs to address this crisis and lack of flexibility,” said Rep. Walden. “Our job is to not let that happen. Our job is to come in and do the kind of repair work and reform work so that we can have a viable market.”
“Our job nationally is not to micromanage every state but to let them operate,” said Rep. Walden. He told the audience that “we have to put consumers first and build business around them” and affirmed his commitment to making health care more affordable in the United States for everyone.
Rep. Walden was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999 and represents Oregon’s Second Congressional District. He serves as chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over many issues that directly impact the independent agency system. He was elected by his Republican colleagues twice to serve as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
Rep. Walden previously served in the Oregon Senate and House. Prior to his career in public service, he owned and operated a radio station. He also served on the Hood River Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and the Oregon Health Sciences University Foundation Board. Rep. Walden earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Oregon.
The Large Agent/Broker and CEO dinner is sponsored by the Big “I” Agent and Broker Roundtable, a group which advises the Big “I” Board of Directors on many topics important to larger agencies and brokers.
Large agents and brokers from around the country, as well as regional and national carrier CEOs including many from Rep. Walden’s home state of Oregon, were in attendance at the May 4 event. The Big “I” Legislative Conference
is the insurance industry’s best-attended, most effective legislative meeting.
Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million 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.