Insurance companies duck Obamacare repeal fight

The once-powerful health insurance lobby — the same one that killed Hillarycare a generation ago and helped usher in Obamacare — can't pick a side in the latest battle over America's health care system.

Some major members of the sprawling trillion-dollar industry, like Humana and Cigna, have little at stake in the fight. Other insurers heavily invested in the Obamacare markets, like the regional Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, are urging Congress to fix the 2010 health law instead of shredding it. And then there’s Anthem, a rare industry voice supporting repeal.

The result is the lobby has lost influence and is now struggling to mount a unified front against Republican efforts to push through an Obamacare replacement. At the same time, the Trump administration has ignored their pleas to stabilize Obamacare’s exchanges in the short term, which could send the wobbly insurance marketplaces crashing before the GOP agrees on a health care plan.

“I’m still hoping they’ll step forward more aggressively and articulate how horrendous this plan is,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), whose home state is the headquarters for several health insurance giants. “They know full well what the impact will be.”

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee, said officials from the main industry lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, never reached out to him while the House drafted an Obamacare replacement bill.

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