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On March 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101), which would allow small businesses access to quality, affordable health care coverage through Association Health Plans (AHPs). The bill passed by a vote of 236-175.

In advance of the vote, ABC sent a key vote letter to members of the House, expressing its support for H.R. 1101. The letter emphasized that AHPs are a common-sense solution to lowering the cost of health care for small businesses. AHPs allow small businesses to band together through bona fide trade associations to purchase health insurance and will help to level the playing field and lower insurance costs. AHPs can reduce health insurance costs by allowing small businesses to join together nationwide to obtain the same economies of scale, bargaining clout and administrative efficiencies now available to employees in large employer and union plans.

ABC has consistently supported Association Health Plans. In 1957, ABC established an association health benefits plan and for over 40 years offered insurance plans to ABC members, many of whom were small business owners. However, in 2001, ABC was forced to discontinue its health insurance portion of association health plans due to incompatible and inconsistent state laws, making it too expensive to provide coverage.

 In addition, on Feb. 28, ABC and several other organizations sent a letter to Representatives Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) thanking them for their leadership in introducing the legislation. The letter stated that rising health care costs continue to be a major problem for small businesses and as a result, fewer employers and working families can afford coverage. In 2015, 25 percent fewer small businesses offered health insurance, compared to when the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.

Learn more about ABC’s actions on H.R. 1101.