Boehner Aide Resigns to Work for Group Backing Obamacare

Monday, 12 May 2014 11:03 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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A top aide to House Speaker John Boehner quit Monday to work in an organization representing thousands of health insurers that has been mainly supportive of Obamacare, according to The Washington Post.

Brendan Buck, who has worked as a spokesman for the Ohio Republican and the House Republican Conference for three years, will be in charge of communications for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

The Post said that Buck’s position with Boehner focused on replying to political policy comments by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.

Ironically, even though Boehner has consistently attacked the Affordable Care Act, Buck will now be working for a group representing healthcare providers, which has largely backed the health insurance reform law.

The newspaper said that AHIP was dubious at first about Obamacare, but changed its views when the "individual mandate," requiring most Americans to get health coverage, was included.

Although the agency was initially concerned that healthcare premiums would rise too quickly under Obamacare, the group was later satisfied that the cost of insuring older and less-abled enrollees would be kept down by young and healthy customers, the report said.

However, AHIP appears not to have made any comment about Obamacare since it’s been revealed that not enough young people are signing up to keep premiums down.

Last month, the National Journal reported that the number of people ages 18 to 35 enrolled in the ACA is just 28 percent — a figure that is still well below the 40 percent needed to make the health reform law a viable institution.

Buck himself voiced criticism of Obamacare in March after the president boasted about the then 6 million Americans who had signed up for coverage.

"Given how bad things are for the White House these days, I guess meeting the lowest of low expectations is now worthy of celebration," Buck said at the time.

Boehner said in a statement Monday that Buck was "absolutely critical" in the GOP's takeover of the House in 2010.

The speaker added, "Then, he took a leading role in our communications shop, holding the White House accountable in the middle of some of the biggest fights this town has seen in quite a while."

AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said Buck's "experience and skill set will allow him to hit the ground running on day one."

Buck took a leave of absence from Boehner’s office in 2012 to join the Romney presidential campaign as press secretary to vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, according to The Hill.

Buck has also served as communications director for the Republican Study Committee and Georgia GOP Rep. Tom Price, and as spokesman at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

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