Aetna is leaving the insurance trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), The Hill reported. 

"Aetna has decided not to renew our membership for 2016," said Aetna spokesperson Cynthia Michener. "We will continue to partner with groups that are working, as we are, toward expanding access to high-quality, affordable healthcare."

Marilyn Tavener, former CMS head and president of CEO of AHIP, defended the organization.

"AHIP's successful advocacy record speaks for itself. Our members depend on AHIP to advance their key priorities, to strengthen the public-private programs that provide coverage for millions of Americans and to deliver solutions that improve access to high-quality, affordable care for consumers."

Our Take: UnitedHealthcare was the first large health insurer to leave the association, when it announced in June, saying its interests and those of its customers were “no longer best represented by AHIP.” Now Aetna, the nation’s third largest insurer, has dealt the association another blow. 

The Hill reported that two other veterans have announced their intent to leave the organization this year—Mary Beth Donahue, who has served as an executive vice president for more than a decade and Dan Durham, who leads AHIP’s policy and regulatory affairs.

Is this a crisis in leadership? These defections all came after Tavener took the reigns from Karen Ignagni last summer, who led the association for 22 years. One healthcare executive told The Hill, “There’s a sense that AHIP has become a one-trick pony for the Obama administration,” alluding to the goal of advancing the Affordable Care Act.

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