The annual conference of America's Health Insurance Plans last week had something that healthcare industry conferences are rarely able to muster: Suspense.
Against a backdrop of an imminent, historic Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the mood at the Salt Palace Conference Center in Salt Lake City was laced with anticipation.
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Thursday morning a packed house at the Conference Center sat and waited for Karen Ignagni, AHIP's CEO, to open the conference. It was 8 a.m. in the mountains and 10 a.m. on the east coast, where the Supreme Court was announcing its decisions for the day.
The room was silent as Ignagni crossed the stage about 10 minutes late, took her place at the podium, and announced that she had no news about the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. She was well into her prepared remarks when a staffer approached the rostrum and handed Ignagni a note. "What a wonderful dramatic moment," she said as she opened the note. The she announced, "there is no decision today."