Small Business Health Plans

May 2008                                                                                                                                                         Senators Take Differing Courses to Help Small Business with Healthcare Costs

Small Business Health Plans in the 110th Congress 

In the 109th Congress, the ACA successfully won the battle of Association Health Plans (AHPs) when S.1955, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (HIMMA), was withdrawn from the Senate floor and defeated along a party-line vote.  HIMMA attempted to expand health care access and reduce insurance costs through the creation of small business health plans.  Small business health plans, often called association health plans, or AHPs, offer insurance coverage purchased through guilds on behalf of the small businesses that make up their memberships. 

The controversial small business health plan legislation spurred an unprecedented grassroots lobbying campaign by the American Chiropractic Association and hundreds of provider and consumer groups that believed the bill would gut state patient protection laws and leave millions of patients without crucial health care benefits.  The ACA expects to see similar legislation introduced again in the 110th Congress and we are ready to fight once more to protect the rights of chiropractic patients.

Minimum Wage Bill Amendment
Currently, Republicans are pushing Democrats to consider several trade-offs with small business owners, who may be forced to increase minimum wage.  GOP leaders believe that offering AHPs (or HIMMA) will help off-set costs associated with increased employee wages.  Please review this document that describes why Congress should not attach HIMMA to the minimum wage bill. 

January 2007 
Earlier, ACA reported that Sens. David Vitter (R-LA) and John Thune (R-SD) filed an amendment to the Senate minimum wage bill that would create association health plans.

January 30th, the Senate voted to proceed on the minimum wage bill that included a package of tax incentives for small business.  The Vitter/Thune AHP amendment was NOT included in the package and will not be eligible for consideration under any future minimum wage debate this week.  A final vote on the package is expected later in the week.

ACA believes that this issue will not go away quietly, however.  Proponents of this type of health care reform will continue to push forward, and ACA will be monitoring this issue vigorously and keep you informed on any and all developments.

ACA thanks all members and chiropractic state associations for making their voices heard on this issue.  Again, you have demonstrated that chiropractic is a force to be reckoned with on Capitol Hill.

Additional Information
Information from Blue Cross/Blue Shield on AHPs.

Coalition to Protect Your Healthcare.

For a review of what happened in the 109th Congress, click here.

Click here to see how ACA defeated S.1955/HIMMA in the 109th Congress.