The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has just reappointed Elizabeth Abbott, our director of administrative advocacy of Health Access California, as a designated consumer representative. She will be one of 27 consumer liaison representatives for 2011, who start their new terms Jan. 1, 2011.
The consumer representatives also include academics like Tim Jost and advocates from our fellow state-based health consumer advocacy groups in Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, Texas, and Wyoming, as well as national groups like Consumers Union, National MS Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Two other representatives from California include Amy Bach of United Policyholders and Bonnie Burns from California Health Advocates. Newly appointees for 2011 include consumer representatives from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Young Invincibles, the American Heart Association, the Brain Injury Association, and Autism Speaks.
The good news is that these consumer advocates get access to key conference calls and meetings where a lot of key issues are discussed around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act–the NAIC is given specific tasks in the ACA at least a dozen times.
The bad news is that there are literally hundreds of hours of meetings and conference calls, and these handful of consumer advocates need to counter the force of literally hundreds of insurance industry lobbyists. They have been remarkable effective given their numbers and their limited resources.
We are very glad that the team is back together again, with some new good additions, in 2011 and the crucial implementation work coming.