Health insurance companies were an ally to Pres. Obama when the Affordable Care Act was coming into shape, but now the health insurance industry’s super lobbying group is spending millions of dollars on a campaign to convince the public to defeat the legislation.
American Health Insurance Plans, a massive lobbying group for insurers, has spent $102.4 million in efforts to defeat the legislation, Forbes reported. The lobbying group had initially cut a deal with Obama to support the legislation when it was passed in 2010, but in the past year used a legal but secretive process to filter money to the Chamber of Commerce, the report stated.
The cash was funneled under the radar by moving giant sums to the Chamber under the heading “advocacy,” Forbes reported. Doing this allowed AHIP to maintain a public stance in favor of Obamacare even as it worked feverishly for its defeat.
The lobbying group funneled $16.2 million during the final push to pass the bill, the National Journal ‘s Influence Alley reported. The link between AHIP and the Chamber was originally unveiled by Bloomberg’s Drew Armstrong, who found an $86 million payment to the chamber in the same year that AHIP reported giving $87 million to unnamed advocacy groups for “grassroots outreach, education and mobilization, print, online, and broadcast advertising and coalition building efforts” regarding health care reform.
Neera Tanden, senior advisor for health care reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, told Forbes that the secret funding came down to what is known as the Medical Loss Ratio. This was a provision requiring health insurance companies to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on health care expenditures, and any excess not spent in that manner had to be returned to customers.