Who supports AHPS?
Elaine Chao - U.S. Secretary of Labor, in a letter to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-N.D.
"With health care costs continuing to rise sharply across the United States, more and more American employers and employees share the burden of increased premiums. And as premiums increase, the ranks of the uninsured will increase as well. In light of these alarming facts, it is crucial that the Senate enact legislation to establish Association Health Plans, as proposed in the Small Business Health Fairness Act. Association Health Plans are a primary component of the President's plan to increase access to health care, and are strongly supported by a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives."
Mark McClellan - Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
"The President has proposed an idea for association health plans that would enable small businesses to pool together to get access to some of the same kinds of discounts from higher-volume purchasing and the same kinds of flexibility to design coverage options that large firms have. Right now, small employers too often can offer only one plan because the insurer requires that just about all their employees participate in their plan alone. If you have only five or eight employees, you can understand why an insurer might want to do that.
"A better approach, the President thinks, is to make available the option of pooling together with other small businesses and in associations, like the National Federation of Independent Business, to purchase health insurance together so you can get access to the same menu of choices that will be available across state lines--that can cover multiple states and have the same kind of flexibility that large firms have.
"Altogether, these proposals amount to steps that would substantially reduce the number of uninsured. They can be implemented now and don't require states to come up with matching funds or set up fundamentally new administrative infrastructures; and they could immediately have a significant impact on the cost of care, the number of uninsured, and the affordability of care for everyone in our private health insurance system."
SBA Office of Advocacy -Study of the Administrative Costs and Actuarial Values of Small Health Plans
"Legislation has been proposed to exempt association health plans (AHPs) from rate regulation and state benefit mandates. The researchers' analysis indicates that AHPs have the potential to lower insurance premiums for small firms by freeing employers from direct and indirect state taxation, some mandated benefits, and the cost of compliance with multiple state regulations."
Kirk Pickerel - President and CEO, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
"Quick congressional passage of association health plan legislation is vital to advance the president's goal of strengthening America's health care system and ensuring that American workers receive the cost-effective, high-quality health care coverage they deserve. ABC thanks Labor Secretary Elaine Chao for her leadership in promoting association health plans as an effective approach to solving the health care crisis facing America's small businesses.
"Massive health insurance premium increases of 40 to 50 percent and higher are the reality for a number of small businesses in America today. Association health plans can reduce health insurance costs by 15 percent or more by allowing small businesses to join together to create economies of scale and bargaining clout. Association health plan legislation will help solve the problem of skyrocketing health care costs facing America's businesses and affecting their employees."
James M. Talent - Senator, R-MO, Statement before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, February 5, 2003
"Association Health Plans empower small business owners, who otherwise cannot afford health insurance, to offer "Fortune 500" company quality health insurance to their employees. AHPs allow national trade and professional associations, from the National Federation of Independent Business to the Missouri Farm Bureau, to respond to the needs of their membership and sponsor health care plans. In other words, AHPs are a solution to a problem that does not discriminate by locale - it helps the small business owner in cities and towns as well as the farmer and rancher. Any small business owner can buy into these plans for themselves, their employees, and their dependents.
"AHPs will make more affordable insurance options available to small businesses. As mentioned, CBO has estimated that small businesses obtaining insurance through AHPs will enjoy premium cuts averaging between 9% and 25%. The smallest firms stand to save the most from AHPs since they face the highest administrative expenses and have little buying power and few affordable options. AHPs will give small firms administrative savings, more purchasing power, and new, more affordable choices. Importantly, passing AHP legislation would unburden small business owners from worrying about how to provide health care to their employees owners to doing what they do best - running their businesses."
Sam Johnson - U.S. House of Representatives, R-Texas-3, Chairman of the Employer-Employee Relations Subcommittee, writing for The Hill
"There are countless employers who want to offer health insurance to their employees, but can not afford to because costs have skyrocketed by roughly 13 percent a year.
"Congress has passed too many mandates. Congress has passed too many costs to the little guy. Congress has been bullied by too many lawyers. And Congress has stood in the way of too many good ideas.
"Enough is enough. "We must enable small businesses to band together to use the marketplace to buy health insurance as a group, via Association Health Plans. Association Health Plans are a prescription for helping the uninsured. "As Chairman, I've heard countless people stress the importance of helping the uninsured; AHPs are the best way to do that.
"Congress must address the uninsured problem and move forward with increasing the insured through Association Health Plans. It's the least Congress can do to ensure that the American people will receive better health care at a more reasonable price."
Greg Scandlen - Senior Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis, writing for The Washington Times
"Congress could enact Association Health Plan (AHP) legislation, which would allow small business groups to jointly purchase coverage and enjoy some of the same savings large employers have. An AHP law wouldn't cost taxpayers much, if anything. It would simply remove the existing obstacles that prevent small employers from purchasing insurance coverage in the most efficient way possible."
U.S. Dept of Labor - Report on Association Health Plans (AHPs)
"[AHP legislation] will make health insurance more affordable, especially for small businesses. [It] contains important provisions...prohibiting group health plans from excluding high-risk individuals or employers with high claims experience, and includes new protections to avoid the problems associated with abusive and fraudulent (multiple employer welfare arrangements)."
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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
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