Both the AAN and Chamber have spent millions on ads calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. While Aetna stands to gain financially from the law, it and other insurers have been critical of the potentially profit-threatening consumer protections and regulations in it.
In the past, agents and brokers have largely had the insurance marketplace all to themselves. As you can imagine, agents and brokers are not happy that other organizations will be able to help folks "navigate" the health insurance world.
It's complicated -- so complicated that unless you are a reader of obscure insurance industry newsletters, you've probably never heard about this, even though it has the potential to cause the collapse of the exchanges and completely circumvent the intent of Congress.
One of the reasons insurers have been spending less of our premium dollars on medical care in recent years is because they have decided to devote more to meeting the relentless profit expectations, and lavishly rewarding those who succeed.
Health insurance company lobbyists know the media are not paying much attention. And so they are able to influence what health reform regulations actually look like -- and how the law will be enforced -- with little scrutiny, much less awareness.
The lobbying to change the medical-loss ratio provision in the new health care law is just one example of how special interests are working to gut the reform law while preserving the portions they like.
It could turn out that UnitedHealth will help consumers the same way the nation's second largest insurer, WellPoint, did several months ago when it announced that it was hiking Californians' premiums as much as 37%.
The still-fragile Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives the public a fighting chance at reining in health insurance premiums. But we're going to have to wrestle with the insurance industry every step of the way.
Now that Congress has taken final action on its health care reform legislation, the reform debate has shifted to, of all places, Denver, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners meeting there.