Insurance Lobbying by Richard L. Tamburello

The number of companies and various organizations that work to put their imprint on legislation is diverse, ranging from health care interests and advocacy groups to giant corporations and small businesses of all types including many insurance companies.

Among the lobbying groups, there are over 200 hospitals and 100 insurance companies which line the halls of Congress to be heard and generate influence. One of the most visible organizations to lobby Congress is AARP.  It has anywhere between 56-60 in-house lobbyists and two from outside firms to work the issue on behalf of its members. The American Medical Association has 33 and 11 professional lobbyists from outside firms.

Influence peddling is big business and Congress loves the attention and the selective influence it generates. Think about it, advocacy groups invest over $3.50 billion for lobbyists to represent them on all kinds of issues, according to the nonprofit group Center for Responsive Politics. And I thought `we the people’ who voted for our elected officials had influence – Yea Right! So what actually happens is that once the votes are counted, our elected officials immediately align themselves with various advocacy groups, lawyers, special interest groups, lobbyists and we, the constituents, are to a large extent, forgotten until the next election.

Insurance lobbyists represent the financial interests of the insurance company industry and the members of Congress supposedly represent their respective constituents. Today, many Americans have become disillusioned with elected officials because politicians are more interested in power, influence and themselves.

The exact amount spent on health reform is difficult to quantify because most health care lobbyists work on other issues and lobby disclosure rules do not require businesses to report how much is paid on each issue.

In conclusion, the AMA succeeded in molding House and Senate bills to make sure cuts would not come out of doctors’ pockets, Wilson said. The AMA helped kill a $300 yearly fee for doctors who participate in Medicare or Medicaid, a tax on cosmetic surgery, 5% Medicare payment cuts to the top 10 percent of Medicare billers and Medicare payment cuts for primary care physicians. Now we hear that many physicians are opposed to the AMA because of recent speculation that the government now wants all physicians to provide it with the once thought `private patient’ data. When will it stop?


Outsourcing: Should We?

Credit decisions greatly impact and influence revenues, bad debts and bottom lines. In today’s weak economy many or should I say most bank credit departments have tightened the rains on extending credit. Today, this practice is evidenced in fewer mortgages, personal and business loans applications and approvals.

As a result, many banks and related financial institutions are reducing employee levels by offering early retirements and imposing terminations. It is likely that the current economic conditions will continue for several more years. The housing market is still sluggish and it is having a domino effect on all those businesses which comprise the housing industry: masons, carpenters, roofers, window manufacturers, landscapers and many other related small businesses.

These unfortunate, poor economic times are causing many businesses to rethink how better to control and manage billing and collecting departments. Although there are `ebbs and tides’ in our economy, businesses are re-thinking and re-evaluating the cost-effective attraction of outsourcing some and all these related departments to professionals. There are several clear advantages outsourcing offers; one of which is that the client only pays for results. For example, ABC Bank employs a staff of 20 in the collections department and it costs about $500,000 – $600,000 in salaries and benefits. These fixed expenses remain constant regardless of the level of generated collection revenues.

The company which outsources its collections department only pays for results. That is to say, using the same example, ABC Bank contracts a professional outsource company to conduct the same responsibilities produces about the same level of revenues, yet it would cost the bank about half the amount, but all of the headaches.

There are additional benefits that can result from outsourcing: fewer personnel to supervise, better manage reduce payroll and related expenses, develop new products and services, promotion of personnel to more challenging positions and, more importantly, grow the business.

Finally, businesses and banks are and will be accumulating data and taking decisions on the financial benefits of outsourcing certain or all aspects of collections and credit granting processes. The ideal outsource candidate has in-depth personal and business loan credit and collection experience, performs credit approvals utilizing secure web-based credit bureaus and criminal background checks resources. It’s becoming quite clear that businesses which are on the cutting edge of growth and market penetration will dominate tomorrow’s businesses.