I appreciate the opportunity to respond, though it is complicated. Mr. Overton has a right to his opinion, but his facts are not accurate. First, Mr. Overton referenced “HF8535” in his editorial, that bill does not exist. There was an amendment, to another amendment, that was labeled “H8535” but this was not a “House File.”
The ASSOCIATION GROUP HEALTH CARE PLANS (HF 2790) was very controversial, due to concerns that the mechanism allowing certain business associations to form insurance pools, would inevitably lead to “cherry picking” of the most healthy employees and employers. This was a concern of numerous legislators, as well as the State Insurance Commissioner Susan E. Voss, who overseas all small employer group health plans.
In response to these concerns, a bi-partisan agreement was reached to amend HF2790, to authorize from three to five pilot projects, to determine the effectiveness of business association insurance pools and to study and report on the affect on the overall small business group insurance market. This compromise amendment was H8523.
Reps. Kraig Paulsen HD 35, Doug Struyk HD 99, and Jim Kurtenbach HD 10 tried to amend the bi-partisan compromise by striking the limits on pilot project duration (July 2011) and participation cap (10% of small business employees). This amendment to the amendment was labeled H8535. It lost in a bi- partisan vote of 44 Aye and 55 Nay. I voted “Nay” with the majority. I did so because it would have been harmful for Iowa’s small employer health insurance market. Nine Republican legislators, including Representative Willard Jenkins of Waterloo, voted against the amendment.
The amendment failed, but the bi-partisan compromise (H-8523) was still on the calendar for debate. However, the House leadership of Speaker Chris Rants and Majority Leader Chuck Gipp, chose not to let the bill come up for a vote. I supported the bi-partisan compromise and I would have voted for it had the Republican leadership permitted. I still support the concept.
In order to have full disclosure, I am registered as a Democrat and Mr. Overton is registered as a Republican. I think it is noteworthy that both the computerized robotic phone calls made against me and one of the questions in the “push poll”, that has been reported by numerous voters, involved this same issue – distortion of my position on small employers pooling for health insurance.
As the State Representative for District 19, I have always voted in ways that I believe are in the best interest of Cedar Falls and the entire state. I have been open to comments, shared legislative information with voters and answered questions from the citizens of Cedar Falls. If you have a concern, please feel free to contact me by email at email@example.com or phone at 319-266-9021
Representative Bob Kressig