Hos­tile bal­lot ini­tia­tives con­front health in­sur­ers

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Bob Her­man

In­surance in­dus­try of­fi­cials will gather in Wash­ing­ton this week to dis­cuss the big­gest po­lit­i­cal, le­gal, leg­isla­tive and reg­u­la­tory is­sues their com­pa­nies face at the lo­cal level.

Amer­ica’s Health In­surance Plans, the main in­surance ad­vo­cacy group, which spent $11.5 mil­lion on lob­by­ing last year, will host its an­nual state health is­sues con­fer­ence Thurs­day and Fri­day. About two dozen speak­ers will talk about the po­ten­tial im­pact of the state health­care bal­lot ini­tia­tives, the midterm elec­tions, ma­jor le­gal rul­ings, Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion, drug costs, tele­health and other mat­ters.

Among the speak­ers dur­ing the gath­er­ing is Vir­ginia Demo­cratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who so far has un­suc­cess­fully pushed his state’s Repub­li­can-led Leg­is­la­ture to ex­pand Med­i­caid to low-in­come adults. Like hos­pi­tals, man­aged-care in­sur­ers stand to ben­e­fit fi­nan­cially from Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion, which would add about 400,000 Vir­gini­ans to the rolls, mostly in pri­vate health plans.

Two of the hottest bal­lot ini­tia­tives af­fect­ing in­sur­ers are Propo­si­tion 45 in Cal­i­for­nia, which would give the state in­surance com­mis­sioner new au­thor­ity to block pre­mium in­creases, and Mea­sure 17 in South Dakota, which would re­quire in­sur­ers to con­tract with all health­care providers will­ing to meet in­sur­ers’ con­di­tions for par­tic­i­pa­tion. A vice pres­i­dent of the Cal­i­for­nia As­so­ci­a­tion of Health Plans and the pres­i­dent of the South Dakota Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try will speak about those ini­tia­tives.

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