NU Online News Service, Feb. 18, 2005, 5:01 p.m. EST
Insurance industry groups have joined with consumer groups to oppose a health coverage proposal that has strong support from President Bush.[@@]
Bush has pushed for the creation of a national association health plan program that would let association plans get around individual states’ health insurance coverage mandates. Bush talked about the proposal during most of his campaign stops and repeated his support for the proposal earlier this month during his State of the Union address.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, and many employer groups have supported the AHP proposal, arguing it would give small employers that join national associations the freedom from mandates that large, self-insured employers now enjoy.
Many insurers and consumer advocates have responded by arguing that the AHP program would encourage the youngest, healthiest employer groups to migrate to lightly regulated association plans and leave the oldest, sickest employer groups with state-regulated insurers.