Background Documents and Information:
The health care law contains a mandate, known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), that gives HHS sweeping power over the design of health insurance at the expense of consumer choice. During a September 15, 2011, hearing, witnesses testified that the MLR regulations have created a "desperate economic situation" for a half-million insurance agents and brokers. This requirement could force agents to leave the market or significantly limit their plan offerings, creating a level of disruption that would quickly destabilize the market and threaten the ability of insurers to continue offering plans. H.R. 1206, the Access to Professional Health Insurance Advisors Act of 2011, would exclude from the calculation of the MLR commissions paid to independent insurance brokers and agents who work to find individuals and small businesses affordable insurance options.
The committee will also vote on H.R.1063, the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers (SMART) Act, which would create efficiencies in the Medicare Secondary Payer program to speed up the process of returning money to the Medicare Trust Fund while reducing costly legal barriers for both large and small employers.
Note: The committee will hold opening statements only on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, at 4:00 p.m. The committee will reconvene on Thursday, September 20, 2012, to take up the legislative items.