At one of the keynote sessions at the Benefits Selling Expo this week, there was one just guy in the room who actually liked Obamacare — and he was the one speaking.
It was Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary, a guy who knows the ins and outs of PPACA.
And frankly, he was a great listen.
He was — as my editor, Denis Storey, told him and Gibbs himself repeated during his session — the “vegetable” of the expo. Speakers Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo were the dessert, telling their tales of Obamacare fails and expressing their sympathies with brokers frustrated with PPACA.
But Gibbs told a different tale — and it was a needed one.
Though he was honest about needed changes to the law, he was still adamant about what works about it and why reform — not only in the form of PPACA, but also in other innovations in the health care world — are needed. It was a heaping serving of broccoli for the audience.
Though he went into the lion’s den with this audience, I was happy he made the effort. And happy most brokers in the audience seemed to want to listen.
I appreciated listening to Gibbs because I appreciate diversity — I don’t appreciate one-sided politics, I don’t appreciate not at least hearing people out who have different views, political or otherwise. Though for the most part I believe in more conservative values, I mostly believe in tolerance and open-mindedness.
Gibbs himself displayed those qualities: He was honest about the flaws in the law, and the debates he had with his former boss.
I especially appreciated Gibbs’ candor in expressing the need for fixes to PPACA — one which included a fairly shocking prediction that the employer mandate will die soon. (Of course, it depends on your definition of the word — would you really call the death prediction of a mandate that has been delayed twice and swept under the rug by the administration shocking?)
The Benefits Selling Expo is now officially over — and I think the dialogue, the debate, the ideas, the number of attendees — it’s all a reminder that the industry isn’t dead, PPACA hasn’t killed us (at least yet), and there’s still a lot of work to do.
It's the perfect serving of vegetables. And it tasted surprisingly good.