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Wall Street Journal editorial cites Society’s concerns over proposed rule

The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) is continuing its effort to influence a proposed rule that would threaten the Society’s Association Health Plan, and in an editorial last Sunday, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) supported the Society’s position.

In “Killing an Obamacare Alternative,” the WSJ Editorial Board wrote, “The Trump Administration has been looking for lifeboats for Americans trapped in Obamacare exchanges, and one project is to expand ‘association health plans,’ or AHPs, that let employers team up to offer coverage. But the fine print in the proposed Labor Department rule is causing concern and needs to be cleaned up.”

As written, the rule would make it difficult for the Society’s Association Health Plan to continue to operate. In March, the Society submitted comments to the Department of Labor, and since the proposed rule’s release in January, Society staff and members have met with Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation and U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) officials to outline concerns, which were echoed in the WSJ editorial.

“Labor proposed the rule earlier this year, and the problem comes in the finer points of its ‘nondiscrimination’ details. Some commenters say the language would block plans from pricing based on health status or past claims data. This is not about turning down individual workers with cancer. No one is talking about firing the guy with multiple sclerosis to save money, which is illegal,” they wrote.

“The Wisconsin Medical Society runs one such plan that covers small practice physicians and their families, among others. The Society wrote to Labor that the rule’s ‘nondiscrimination’ provisions threaten the financial stability of existing AHPs and create structural issues that could lead to future insolvency,” the editorial continues.

“The point of the rule is to create a vibrant market, and the criticism hits the mark. Labor is reviewing comments on the rule, and it needs to fix the nondiscrimination provision.”

The editorial was particularly well timed, as Society staff Lisa Davidson and Linda Syth are meeting with staff at the White House National Economic Council on Monday to share concerns. The final rule is expected this summer.

The Society Association Health Plan Trust currently covers more than 1,100 people and 22 employer groups, serving as an important vehicle for medical practices to purchase health insurance for physicians, their employees and their families.

If you have questions, contact Lisa Davidson, the Society’s vice president of advocacy and membership.

Back to April 26, 2018 Medigram