Nonprofit with ties to medical insurance industry leads charge to rescue Obamacare

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A nonprofit advocacy group with close ties to the medical insurance industry is playing a number one role in pushing lawmakers in Congress to avoid wasting Obamacare from a self-imposed ticking time bomb.

Medical insurance premiums are slated to spike sharply this fall if Congress allows the temporary enhanced Obamacare subsidies included in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan pandemic relief laws to run out at the tip of 2022. Over 3 million people could possibly be priced out of their medical insurance coverage if Democrats fail to increase the subsidies or make them everlasting.

THREE MILLION TO LOSE OBAMACARE IN 2023 IF DEMOCRATS DON’T EXTEND SUBSIDIES

The National Academy for State Health Policy, a Maine-based nonprofit group that bills itself as a “nonpartisan organization committed to developing and advancing state health policy innovations and solutions,” convened a Washington, D.C., summit last month with the leaders of state insurance exchanges, federal officials, and members of Congress to facilitate meetings focused on extending the subsidies.

NASHP executive director Hemi Tewarson told the Washington Examiner that Republican and Democratic members of Congress and their staff participated within the event.

Lower than per week after the NASHP’s event, a bunch of 26 vulnerable swing-district House Democrats sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging them to take motion to increase the temporary subsidies, which permit people earning greater than 400% of the poverty level to receive government assistance to assist pay for medical insurance purchased on state-based exchanges.

The lawmakers’ letter cited NASHP research that found that medical insurance premiums could spike upward of 70% for individuals who would lose access to the improved subsidies in the event that they’re allowed to lapse.

The research also credited the improved American Rescue Plan subsidies for enhancing enrollment in state-based medical insurance exchanges by over 685,000 in 2022.

The Democratic lawmakers didn’t disclose of their letter that the NASHP shares close ties with major health insurers that might suffer blows to their bottom lines if the improved subsidies expire.

The NASHP launched a “Strategic Partnership Program” in 2014 to “align with corporations” that want to work with the group to advertise “excellence in state health policies.” Corporations must “invest” at the very least $25,000 with the NASHP to be counted as one in every of its strategic partners, in response to the group’s website.

The NASHP’s strategic partners include a few of the nation’s largest health insurers, including the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Kaiser Permanente, Mercer, and Aetna’s parent corporation, CVS Health.

Shannon McMahon, a member of the NASHP board of directors, also serves as the chief director for medicaid policy and government relations for the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente.

The group has also paid Avenue Solutions, a Democratic lobbying firm, $654,000 from 2017 through 2020 for “consulting services,” in response to its federal form 990 financial disclosures.

Avenue Solutions also counts Blue Cross Blue Shield Association as one in every of its clients. The corporate paid the lobbying firm $80,000 in the primary quarter of 2022, partially to make Obamacare “tax credits/subsidies everlasting.”

Tewarson, NASHP’s executive director, said the group’s corporate partnership program is firewalled from their work with state-based marketplaces.

“It just isn’t factually correct to say or suggest that cash from our corporate partnership program is expounded in any option to our work with the state-based marketplaces. This work is one hundred pc covered by the dues the marketplaces pay to NASHP,” Tewarson said.

“Our corporate partnership program has been around for over a decade and doesn’t support any of our work with the state-based marketplaces,” she added. “It supports other functions equivalent to our annual conference. We also maintain sole editorial authority over all our work with our corporate partners.”

Federal deficits would increase by $25.3 billion in 2023 if the subsidies are prolonged without raising additional revenue, and a 10-year extension to the subsidies would increase the deficit by $305 billion, the Washington Examiner previously reported.

Republican lawmakers have signaled opposition to extending the subsidies.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The 14 Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee released a “Dear Colleague” letter in March warning that extending the subsidies, which they said disproportionately profit high-income employees, could exasperate inflation.

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