Topics: Obamacare

Insurance lobby AHIP hires up John Boehner aide Brendan Buck

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Congress,Timothy P. Carney,Obamacare,John Boehner,Health Care,Lobbying,Insurance Industry

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, has joined the top health insurance lobby, America's Health Insurance Plans.

What does this tell us?

The Buck hire suggests AHIP feels the need to woo Republicans. I see a few fights where this will be true.

1. AHIP may actually be worried about Sen. Marco Rubio's attempts to kill the insurer bailouts known as "risk corridors."

2. Sen. Orrin Hatch, who will be the chairman of Senate Finance if the GOP takes over the Senate this election, has proposed a bill to kill the employer mandate. This Hatch bill would hurt insurers. House conservatives also want to repeal the individual mandate. This would be very painful to insurers. Buck is experienced with dealing with such unruly conservatives.

3. This is about to get confusing, though: When it's not scolding the House for passing bills to derail Obamacare, the Obama administration unilaterally (and often illegally) goes around delaying or shrinking Obamacare. Some of these tweaks help insurers. Others hurt insurers.

Senate and House Republicans, when not trying to delay, shrink and repeal Obamacare, flip out about Obama doing it. Since some of Obama's tweaks are clearly illegal, the GOP could undo some. This is perilous for insurers.

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