Association Health Plan Efforts Move Forward
With health care costs continuing to rise disproportionately, the nation’s home builders commended the Senate for holding two hearings last week to examine how association health plans would enable small businesses to offer better and more affordable coverage for their employees.
Lawmakers serving on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee heard testimony on how S. 406, the “Small Business Health Fairness Act,” would help address the rising number of the uninsured and the soaring cost of health care.
“We appreciate the strong leadership that committee chairs Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) have shown on this issue, and believe these hearings will highlight the need to enact legislation to provide small businesses with greater options to secure stable and affordable health coverage for their employees,” said NAHB President Dave Wilson.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are roughly 45 million uninsured individuals in the country today, up from 41 million four years ago and 43.6 million in the past two years. More than 24 million of these workers are employed by small businesses.
“The majority of our builder members are small business owners who are being crushed by skyrocketing insurance costs,” said Wilson. “Senator Snowe has offered a common-sense legislative solution — at no cost to taxpayers — that would help small businesses access greater health insurance choices and lower premiums.”
S. 406, the “Small Business Health Fairness Act,” is a bipartisan measure sponsored by Snowe that would allow small businesses to band together through associations to purchase quality health care at a lower cost.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) recently told NAHB that he believes that “association health plans are an essential component” in addressing rising health costs to small businesses and that he will be urging the full Senate to “consider this critical legislation during the 109th Congress.”
To read the legislation, click here and enter the bill number in the box at the upper left.
For more information, e-mail Michael Strauss at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8252.