By Naama O. Pozniak
February welcomed the annual NAHU conference in Washington D.C. and what an experience it was for everyone involved! The nation’s capital has an incredible energy like no other city. Just walking through the historic streets somehow uplifts the spirits. D.C. is a remarkable place to people watch. It is somehow inspiring to observe this rainbow nation of Americans, each with different and original vibes, traits and backgrounds.
Conference attendees had the pleasure of meeting with several California legislators and aides to discuss their work and share experiences. Although we all had distinctly different points of view, one thing was absolutely clear: Our representatives in Washington truly understand the needs for transparency in our healthcare industry and the importance of continuing to educate themselves about the changing market. While our current system is not perfect, we need to continue to build upon and protect the parts of the system that do work, while improving the parts that do not.
The conversations were at times quite emotional. NAHU was a priceless resource in illustrating the living breath of daily healthcare all over the U.S. We were the voices of the agents who deliver health insurance, day in and day out. We were the voices of the demanding and distraught consumers that are met with on a daily basis. We communicated to our representatives the pain and agony of our current healthcare system that is supposed to be healing people. We made clear the necessity to transform and enhance our current healthcare system and to find ways to make it more efficient. We also made sure to advocate for better value for every healthcare dollar that we spend.
This year’s focus was explaining the importance of the individual market stabilization. We discussed the problem of getting billed out of network as a surprise billing situation. Even Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, admitted he had fallen victim to incorrect billing. Secretary Azar received a standing ovation for his insightful remarks on the healthcare reform in the works with the current administration, including reducing prescription drug costs, increasing access and quality of care, and eliminating billing errors.
The employer market was also a key topic of discussion, including the conversation about eliminating the Cadillac tax and HIT tax, and why the legislation must be repealed to avoid another government shutdown. It was emphasized that Americans with employer-sponsored insurance should be allowed to keep their coverage options. One size does not fit all. As Lauren Crawford Shaver said, “Americans do not want their healthcare to be a political game played out by politicians. Healthcare should be between the patient and the doctor.”
The pros and cons of Medicare for all were evaluated. Excellent points were made on how COBRA should be considered as a continuation of coverage. There were some great talks about different forms of single payer and changes that must be made to benefit the Medicare community and our lovely seniors. We all have aging family members and agreed that steps must be taken to make the system more user-friendly and productive for their benefit.
Amazing representatives like Representative Suzan Del Bene (D-WA) spoke of reducing healthcare costs for families. Representative Larry Bucshon (R-IN), spoke about healthcare perspectives from a physician in congress, along with Randy Pate, CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. It was agreed that we must all come together as one unit, one mind and spirit, to create the best and most affordable solution in the healthcare industry.
In the end, it’s clear that the only way we can truly make a difference is to stay open and embrace the new options. We must be open to the possibility of change, transparency and technology in order to deliver our healthcare in the most kind, efficient and meaningful way.
Even if you were not able to attend the conference, it is crucial for everyone to join today as members or to make a generous contribution to the efforts of NAHU’s PAC. Together we can influence and make a tremendous difference. As member Suzy Johnson stated, “There is nothing like experiencing the important work of our association by attending #CapCon. It’s an experience I wish for everyone devoted to our industry.”
May we all transform our healthcare experience in a positive way,
Wherever you are, Happy Spring, and many blessings on this special journey.
Naama O. Pozniak
Naama O. Pozniak, a member of the Cal Broker editorial advisory board, is Valley Village-based Paz Holding Inc.’s ( dba A+ Insurance Service) CEO. Pozniak has been delivering employer benefits for 30 years. She’s a mother, a yogi, a speaker, a consultant, a healthcare strategic innovator, and a meditation instructor, certified by the Chopra Center. She is currently a certified healthcare reform and Medicare certified specialist and a Covered California Champion Certified agent. Pozniak was recognized as the Most influential Woman in benefit advising for 2016 and 2017. She is a Top of the Table producer and holds the life time Soaring Eagle Award. Pozniak was the recipient of the NAHU Distinguished Service Award for 2018 and is currently the NAHU Region 8 Media chair and LAAHU Community Outreach chair.
Cathy Daugherty is Region 8 Health Insurers Political Action Committee (HUPAC) chair. Region 8 was rock and rolling over the last #CAPCON2019 #NAHU. We won two categories as a region for achieving the highest percentage of membership contributing to HUPAC and the highest amount of contribution.
HUPAC raises funds from NAHU members for the purpose of supporting the political campaigns on both ends. Capitol Conference represents an unprecedented opportunity to present positive solutions that will contribute to a stable, competitive and efficient health insurance market.
* Patrick Burns (Region 8 RVP) : Spirit of Freedom Award
* Jim Morrison (CAHU Leg Chair): Legislative Achievement
* Naama O. Pozniak (LAAHU Community Outreach Chair and Region 8 Media Chair) :
presented with the HUPAC recognition of recruiting the highest percentage of newmembers for HUPAC with a flag flown over the U.S capitol building by Hon. Brad Sherman.
*Legislative awards were presented to Inland Empire and Orange County.
* LAAHU won the award for the highest percentage increase (20 percent) of HUPAC contributions.
This is really incredible and we are heading in the right direction for a very strong PAC. We need everyone to make a contribution!