Who supports AHPS?
Elaine Smith - President, E. Smith & Associates, testifying before the House Committee on Small Business, February 6, 2002
"A recent bipartisan poll asked 1,000 Americans what worries them most about the economy. The top response -- overwhelmingly -- was "rising health-care costs," with nearly 1 in 3 people listing that as their top economic concern. We must all constantly remind ourselves that the true crisis in health care -- and in the economy as a whole -- is the skyrocketing cost of health insurance.
"Those in the small business community who are insured are struggling each year to afford the cost of increasing premiums. It's for this reason that I support legislation...that would create Association Health Plans (AHPs).
"Like most small business owners, I'm a networker. To be competitive on Main Street, you have to be. I seek out organizations that provide educational seminars and discounts on goods and services, and I know that AHPs...would be great...for small business owners like me.
"Now, I'm a salesperson, not a health policy expert, but I do know that there is much debate about how to insure more Americans and how to help those currently insured continue to afford their coverage. To me, AHPs...are (a) good, common sense solution to controlling the cost of quality health care."
Ron Hatch - Owner, Hatch Furniture, testifying before the House Committee on Small Business, March 19, 2002
"All of these factors - cost increases, lack of competition between plans, access to care, and mandates - make me very worried about Hatch Furniture's ability to offer health benefits in the future. If our July renewal brings another double-digit increase, I'm not sure how we will absorb it, or for that matter, how many employees will be able to keep their coverage. I fear that more might go without insurance. If more employees decide to drop coverage, I may not even be able to qualify for group coverage, at which point everybody loses. The lack of competitive benefits also severely limits my ability to hire and retain employees.
"It's for these reasons that I support legislation endorsed by NFIB that would create Association Health Plans (AHPs). AHPs would allow small business owners to band together across state lines to purchase health insurance as part of a large group, thus ensuring greater bargaining power, lower administrative costs and freedom from costly state insurance mandates. Fortune 500 companies and labor unions already have this right. AHPs will simply level the playing field and give small employers the same privileges as their counterparts in labor and big business."
Hector B. Varreto - Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration, testifying before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, February 5, 2003
"I hope that Secretary Chao and I, on behalf of President Bush, can work closely with you and all Senators this year so that small businesses, and the 57 million Americans who work for them, can receive access to better, more affordable health care coverage through the strengthening of AHPs. Until we come up with a solution that crosses state lines, I do not think we can solve this problem for small businesses. The time to act is now. Continuing to do nothing to address this crisis is unacceptable for millions of small business owners."
President, United States of America, speaking to Congress during the 2004 State of the Union address
"On the critical issue of health care, our goal is to ensure that Americans can choose and afford private health care coverage that best fits their individual needs. To make insurance more affordable, Congress must act to address rapidly rising health care costs. Small businesses should be able to band together and negotiate for lower insurance rates, so they can cover more workers with health insurance -- I urge you to pass Association Health Plans."
Olympia Snowe - Senator, R-Maine, Chairman, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Feb. 5, 2003
"The fact is, with more than two-thirds of all Americans relying on their employer for health insurance, we can't afford to continue the disturbing trend identified by Kaiser, where monthly premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance on average rose 11 percent from 2000 to 2001, and then 12.7 percent from 2001 to 2002 - the second straight year of double digit increases. As a result, 22 percent of all firms increased employee deductibles in 2002, and 32 percent told Kaiser they are likely to do so this year.
"The problem is all the more acute for small businesses. For those with fewer than 10 workers, the employer and employees together pay on average about 8 percent more in premiums than the amount paid by larger companies. And for all firms under 200 employees, 84 percent indicated to Kaiser that cost was an important factor in not offering health care. The result of all this isn't hard to predict.
"Businesses can and clearly are dropping health benefits. Others struggle onward in providing coverage, but only at the cost of the growth of the business, or offering packages with higher premiums, or a combination of both... I plan to introduce legislation to level the playing field between large and small businesses through Association Health Plans.
"We want to give small businesses the same strength as unions and large employers to negotiate better rates. And let there be no doubt there would be cost savings. Indeed, a 2000 CBO report estimated that, on average, premiums paid by small firms that purchase health insurance through an AHP or similar arrangement would be about 13 percent lower than premiums they would otherwise pay. In fact, reductions could range from 9 to 25 percent."
Donald Manzullo - U.S. Rep., R-Ill.-16, Chairman, House Small Business Committee, speaking at The Association Health Plans Coalition Press Conference, February 11, 2003
"They are desperate. Our entrepreneurs, whose ingenuity and hard work ethic have driven the American economy, have run out of options to battle this health care crisis. They need our help. And today, we bring forward a great option -- Association Health Plans -- to help control these outrageous costs and continue offering vital health insurance to their employees and their families."
Ernie Fletcher - U.S. Rep., R-Ky.-6, speaking at The Association Health Plans Coalition Press Conference, Feb. 11, 2003
"The best patient protection is access to affordable health benefit options. Yet 41 million Americans currently have no coverage at all. Eighty-five percent of those citizens are from working families. The Small Business Health Fairness Act that I introduced can reduce the high cost of health insurance for small businesses, farmers, and the self-employed. Small firms deserve the opportunity to obtain high quality health insurance that is competitively priced.
"President Bush has asked for this legislation, the American people need it, and bipartisan members of Congress are working to deliver on this need. The time for real results that help hard-working, deserving Americans is now. It is imperative that Congress pass this bill this year. I am hopeful that we can do that and begin providing relief to our citizens immediately."
Nydia Velazquez - U.S. Rep., D-NY-12, Ranking Member, House Small Business Committee, Opening remarks at the hearing on March 5, 2003
"Today, we are facing a health care crisis. It is astounding that in the U.S. - the only remaining superpower, the country with the largest GNP and the world's economic driver - there are 44 million Americans who cannot afford health care. That is outrageous.
"Nowhere is this health care gap more striking than in our nation's small businesses. More than 60 percent of the 33 million adults and 11 million children without health insurance are small business owners, their employees or their families.
"Small businesses bear the brunt of the health insurance crisis because of the two "c's" - choice and cost. These are the two things that keep affordable, quality health care out of reach for small businesses."
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Is health insurance becoming too costly for your business? Tell your
senators small businesses MUST HAVE Association Purchasing Pooled
Health Plans (AHPs) for Small-Business to be able to continue providing
affordable health insurance to their employees.
"On the critical issue of health care,
our goal is to ensure that Americans can choose and afford private
health care coverage that best fits their individual needs. To make
insurance more affordable, Congress must act to address rapidly rising
health care costs. Small businesses should be able to band together and
negotiate for lower insurance rates, so they can cover more workers with
health insurance -- I urge you to pass Association Health Plans."
President George Bush,
State of the Union Address
See who supports AHP'S
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