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Healthcare Happy Hour
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Healthcare Happy Hour


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The NAHU Healthcare Happy Hour podcast is released weekly on Friday afternoons by the National Association of Health Underwriters, and includes a recap of the week’s top issues in healthcare and health insurance politics and policy.
105 Episodes
Leading up to Capitol Conference, we are reviewing each of our legislative priorities in detail. NAHU is the only trade organization representing professional agents and brokers who work with Medicare beneficiaries and Medicare products. In our final podcast before Cap Con, John Greene reviews the Medicare-specific issues we are advocating for, including observation status, COBRA as credible coverage, and allowing those over age 65 that are still working to contribute to their HSAs. We also go into detail about what Medicare-related speakers and breakout sessions await Capitol Conference attendees.
Calling all Capitol Conference attendees and those curious about NAHU’s premier legislative event! Next week NAHU members from across the country will descend on Capitol Hill to make our voices heard! On this week’s episode, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner and Dan Parker preview what to expect at this year’s conference. They break down the agenda and the can’t-miss speakers, provide a preview of the breakout sessions, the primary policy priorities that we will be advocating for on the Hill, and tips for making the most of your visit. You won’t want to miss this for the essential info ahead of your trip to the nation’s capital. Never participated in Capitol Conference? We encourage you to check out the podcast to hear what you’re missing!
Leading up to Capitol Conference, we are reviewing each of our legislative priorities in detail. NAHU is leading a coalition effort to advance bipartisan legislation through Congress to end the practice of surprise medical billing and to implement a payment benchmark standard. On this week’s podcast, Katy Spangler from the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing joins NAHU’s John Greene and Chris Hartmann to discuss the ongoing legislative efforts to address surprise billing and how NAHU and the Coalition are working to influence the process. They break down the nuances between arbitration and benchmarking, and what the outlook is for reaching a consensus among the several competing solutions to this problem.
NAHU and the Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage are leading the charge to advance bipartisan legislation to allow prospective employer reporting, greatly easing the compliance burden of the ACA for employers complying with the law’s mandate. On this week’s podcast episode, Chris Pollack, executive director of the partnership, joins NAHU’s Chris Hartmann to discuss our recent advocacy work and what you need to know about employer reporting before coming to NAHU’s 30th annual Capitol Conference!
NAHU recently submitted our comments in response to the Transparency in Coverage proposed rule, which would allow consumers to shop and compare costs between specific providers before receiving care, including receiving accurate estimates of any out-of-pocket costs they must pay to meet their plan’s deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance requirements. On this week’s podcast, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner reviews our comment letter in detail, including what we supported and what Improvements we suggested.
This week, NAHU CEO Janet Trautwein joins us to discuss the looming threat of Medicare-for-All and similar proposals, such as the public option. Specifically, we review the differences between single-payer and public option, the dangers of a public option to the insurance market and consumers, as well as what agents and brokers can do to fight these ideas before it’s too late.
As you all probably know by now, Congress passed the fiscal year 2020 spending bill and companion tax extenders measure which included a permanent repeal of three ACA taxes: the medical device tax, Cadillac Tax, and the Health Insurance Tax (more commonly referred to as the HIT tax). The repeal of the HIT tax is an overwhelming victory for brokers and consumers alike. This week, NAHU’s Chris Hartmann and John Greene sit down with Elena Tompkins from Stop The HIT, the coalition that fought for the full repeal of the HIT for several years, to discuss what led to this victory!
As you all probably know by now, Congress passed the fiscal year 2020 spending bill and companion tax extenders measure which included a permanent repeal of three ACA taxes: the medical device tax, Health Insurance Tax, and the 40% excise tax that became known as the “Cadillac Tax.” The repeal of the Cadillac Tax is a monumental victory for brokers and consumers alike. This week, NAHU’s Chris Hartmann and Marcy M. Buckner sit down with Heather Meade from the Alliance to Fight the 40, the coalition that fought for the full repeal of the Cadillac Tax for several years, to discuss what led to this victory!
This week, former congresswoman and current president & CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance, Allyson Schwartz, joins NAHU’s John Greene to discuss a wide range of Medicare topics, including this year’s AEP, President Trump’s executive order on Medicare, the Cadillac and HIT taxes, and more. Congresswoman Schwartz represented Pennsylvania’s 13th district for ten years, and now leads Better Medicare Alliance as the foremost advocate for Medicare Part C, more commonly known as Medicare Advantage. (This episode was recorded on Monday, December 9, 2019.)
The House and Senate have both passed the fiscal year 2020 spending bill which includes a permanent repeal of three ACA taxes: the Cadillac/excise tax, medical device tax, and Health Insurance Tax (HIT). The legislation fully repeals the Cadillac tax, and repeals the HIT effective January 1, 2021 which means the HIT will still be in place for 2020. Passage of this legislation represents a major milestone in our advocacy efforts to finally end the Cadillac tax and HIT and we thank all of you who have taken action to support these repeals!
There is no shortage of legislative news this week as the window to pass legislation before the new year dwindles. This week, NAHU’s Chris Hartmann and John Greene discuss what’s happening on the legislative front as we conclude the year, including: the contents of a comprehensive, bipartisan healthcare package several months in the making, which contains a section on surprise billing. In addition, this episode reviews House Democrats’ prescription drug reform bill, the status of the Cadillac and HIT taxes, as well as reflecting on this year’s AEP. (This episode was recorded on Thursday, December 12, 2019.)
The Colorado Division of Insurance has released its final report of Colorado’s public option, detailing a plan for the implementation of a state coverage option that would be administered by private insurance companies and sold on the state exchange and the off-exchange individual market starting in 2022. On this week’s episode of the Healthcare Happy Hour, NAHU Legislative Council member Brad Niederman and CSAHU lobbyist Jenn Penn join NAHU’s Marcy Buckner to discuss the state public option proposal and its implications.
Earlier today, the Trump Administration released its final rule on hospital outpatient pricing transparency and announced a new proposed rule that calls for transparency mandates for insurers and group health plans. This week, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner joins the Healthcare Happy Hour to discuss how NAHU was able to influence the changes to the final hospital transparency rule through our comments, and identifies some of our initial concerns of the proposed insurer transparency rule and what NAHU members and clients should know as the rule undergoes the comment process.
Democrats Delay Drug Reform

Democrats Delay Drug Reform


House Democrats indicated this week that they plan on delaying a vote on their comprehensive prescription drug plan until at least December. Meanwhile, President Trump has tentatively offered support for the Senate Republican’s plan to implement Part D inflation caps, which have historically been opposed by Republicans for the potential to lead to government price controls on healthcare. This week, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner, Chris Hartmann and John Greene join us to look at these dynamics as the administration and leadership in Congress work to bring a bipartisan, bicameral prescription drug package to the floor. The episode also reviews how NAHU and the Trump administration have been working on the ongoing implementation of the individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements, and how the latest waiver proposal in Georgia could push all individual coverage enrollments directly to insurers and brokers, bypassing any official marketplace.
The House of Representatives formally voted this week to authorize several committees to investigate if there are grounds for impeaching President Trump. While this process does not directly affect NAHU’s legislative priorities, it could significantly affect the legislative calendar for the remainder of the year. This week, NAHU’s Chris Hartmann and John Greene join us to review this process and how it alters the outlook for repealing the Cadillac and premium taxes, prescription drug reform, surprise billing, and much more. They also look at several bipartisan prescription drug bills that have not generated nearly as much attention as the broader packages, and discuss a new report on how to finance single-payer and when to expect the appellate decision in Texas v. U.S. challenging the constitutionality of the ACA.
After passing out of each of the three committees of jurisdiction, including this week in the Ways and Means committee, the House Democrats prescription drug plan is nearing its final stages. A floor vote is expected by mid-November, and this week the Healthcare Happy Hour takes a deep dive at how the bill has changed in recent weeks and how it could affect your client’s coverage and costs. NAHU prescription drug task force chair Greg Stancil joins NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner to review these key provisions, along with its Senate counterpart, and how they could be combined into a single bipartisan, bicameral package later this year to dramatically reform the nation’s prescription drug market. Greg and Marcy specifically look at how these plans could affect employer-based coverage and self-insured plans, and what agents and brokers should be telling their clients as these bills move through the legislative process.
NAHU is continuing to work closely with CMS on working through the changes to the Medicare Plan Finder. Last week, they announced an initial set of updates to the new Medicare Plan Finder to be in effect ahead of this week’s start of the annual enrollment period, with more updates expected in the coming weeks. On this week’s episode, NAHU Medicare Advisory Group member Justin Lubenow joins NAHU’s John Greene to review these improvements, including updates to backend technical details to display 2020 plans, and features that allow users to sort plans by the total cost of estimated annual drug costs plus premiums, and numerous updates to drug information to include providing clear distinctions between preferred in-network versus in-network pharmacy.
Perry Braun from the Benefit Advisors Network joins the Healthcare Happy Hour podcast for a special discussion with NAHU CEO Janet Trautwein on healthcare industry trends and the future of employer-sponsored health coverage. Perry and Janet also review the ongoing proposals in Congress and by the Trump Administration to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and how these proposals would affect consumers and employers. They also look at the increasing role that states are taking in healthcare reform, after largely deferring to the federal government in the wake of the ACA.
Medicare’s annual election period marketing season is now underway as NAHU continues to work closely with CMS officials to resolve the significant challenges of the revised Medicare Plan Finder. On this week’s episode, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner and John Greene discuss the role that NAHU is playing in this process and how NAHU members can join us in working towards a solution. This episode also includes a regulatory roundup of President Trump’s latest healthcare executive order, new guidance on the individual coverage and excepted benefit HRAs, and our comments to the hospital transparency proposed rule.
The announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to instruct several committees to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Trump sent shockwaves through Washington. The process is expected to take months and consume a significant amount of energy and attention from lawmakers, who were otherwise focused on several healthcare cost measures, including prescription drug reform and surprise billing. On this week’s episode, NAHU’s Chris Hartmann and John Greene discuss how the impeachment process could stall progress on these efforts and how other parts of NAHU’s legislative agenda could be impacted. John and Chris also discuss the future implications of the latest survey on employer-based coverage, and provide an update on the Medicare Plan Finder rollout.
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