Managing members of a trade group is often like herding cats. Worse, actually. All kinds of cats—tabbies to lions. And the strain of corralling consensus is starting to fracture America's Health Insurance Plans, as the industry's for-profit giants grow even bigger and their priorities diverge from the interests of their smaller and not-for-profit peers.
Aetna's departure from AHIP months after UnitedHealth Group bolted is further evidence that the large national insurers are increasingly happy to fight their own battles on Capitol Hill, such as shepherding their pending mega-mergers and negotiating changes to the ACA marketplaces.
Some in the industry are murmuring that Marilyn Tavenner, the CMS' former administrator, is the wrong person to lead AHIP during this growth phase of the Affordable Care Act.
Tavenner took over AHIP's helm last year from Karen Ignagni, the group's longtime chief who commanded Washington's attention but left to lead New York City-based health insurer EmblemHealth.
Observers have hailed Tavenner for her ability to win support from both sides of the political aisle, but some industry sources believe she has focused too much on cooperating with the Obama administration rather than advocating for their specific business issues.