The consumer lobby groups and other stakeholders create networks through which they advocate for issues concerning affordability of the insurance covers and also lobby for effective policies that expand the qualification or legibility levels of those to be covered under the insurance. They protect people earning low incomes from paying equal premiums as the higher-earning citizens and thus the subsidized premiums for the lowly in society. They also advocate for legislation of policies that establishes affordability standards in policies that require consumers to purchase insurance for themselves or their children, so they are not subject to penalties for noncompliance if premium rates are deemed to be unaffordable.
Consumer groups also play a role in passing or shaping the design of health insurance reforms. They work with lead legislative sponsors and the insurance commissioner to craft or model bills that require modified community ratings. For example, in the house health care bill, some lobby groups have already taken their positions for or against the health care bill, with the seniors’ lobby AARP and the American Nurses Association (ANA) supporting the democrats’ bill and the Chamber of commerce and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) opposing the healthcare bill.
Other groups have given support based on conditions, for example, the American Medical Association, while other lobby groups have refused to take positions. The supporters and opponents of this bill were split along predictable lines. For example, historically, the chamber of commerce and other lobby groups allied to the Republican side have vehemently opposed the bill, while the Democrat allied labor groups are behind the bill. The AARP came as a major surprise to the democrats but bearing in mind that several key issues such as generic drugs availability and other of its big priorities were in the bill, the lobby group had to support the bill.
Those still on the sidelines are concerned about the big and small elements of the bill and are supportive of the others, but they are not ready to take a side by embracing or rejecting the bill in public. For example, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) have concerns that the bill might cost them approximately 100 billion US dollars; however, they are stuck with the notion that the bill will ultimately protect them from the harsh policies promoted by the house. The hospital industry has also not been taken aside though the groups stand to take a huge hit in the house bill.