President Bush still is hoping that Congress will let small businesses buy health coverage through multistate groups.
The president brought up the topic of association health plans today while he participated in a press conference in Chicago.
Senate Democrats recently used the threat of delaying tactics to block passage of S. 1955, a bill that would have permitted small business groups to buy multistate health plans from state-regulated insurance companies. Under the provisions of S. 1955, a small business association plan would have to comply with the laws in effect in the state of domicile.
“We got to recognize that certain individuals don’t have the capacity to be able to buy health insurance like big companies can do and, therefore, it erodes the capacity of small businesses to be able to maintain their purchasing power,” the president said, according to a transcript provided by the White House. “In other words, if it costs you a lot of money to buy the insurance plan, you’re not going to pay for your insurance, see. And right now our small businesses are being penalized because they’re not allowed to pool risk across jurisdictional boundaries. A solution to that is association health plans. [House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.,] got it passed out of the House. It got killed by the trial lawyers in the United States Senate.”
Bush said he still hopes to get an AHP bill passed before he’s out of office.
“It’s a practical way of making sure that small businesses aren’t mandated, but have got choice in the marketplace,” Bush said.
During the press conference, Bush discussed several other points of his health policy program.