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CEO DATELINE – Realtors group meets with White House officials on association health plans

May 10, 2019
By Walt Williams

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Representatives from the National Association of Realtors met with Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and other White House officials on Wednesday to discuss the group’s support for the agency’s association health plan rule, which was recently struck down by a federal court.

The Labor Department adopted the rule last year at the direction of President Donald Trump, who sought to expand the use of AHPs after Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. However, U.S. District Judge John Bates declared in March 28 ruling that agency rule was an unlawful “end run” around the Obama-era health care law. The department is appealing the decision.

NAR is urging administration officials to defend the rule, saying ACA brought significant regulatory changes but also significant price increases. Self-employed Realtors have a median income of $42,500, meaning they can only absorb modest prices increases before foregoing health coverage altogether, the association said in a statement. More than 3,000 Realtors are currently enrolled in AHPs.

“Because this issue is central to the lives of so many NAR members, we’re also pushing state governments to support policies that provide Realtors with the freedom to choose the health insurance plan they need,” NAR elected President John Smaby said.

Christie DeSanctis, NAR’s director of federal policy, represented the national association at Wednesday’s meeting. Also present were representatives from Realtors’ groups in Tennessee, Nevada and Alabama.

NAR has released a map of states that have implemented AHPs and those that are suing to overturn the Trump administration rule. It has also published a guide to state policies concerning AHPs.