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To Your Health

An old health insurance bill gets a second chance at life.

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This story appears in the June 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Congressional republicans are digging up an old small-business health insurance proposal Democrats buried in past Congresses-and some influential House Democrats are helping wield the shovels. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), ranking minority member on the House Small Business Committee, co-sponsors the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 660), which would allow trade associations to create federally regulated national health insurance programs for small businesses. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, is sponsoring the bill on her side of the Capitol.

Trade associations, which would offer association health plans (AHPs), would have considerable flexibility in choosing coverage. And Sen. James Talent (R-MO), who sponsored past AHP legislation, says at least 2 million small-business employees would be covered, based on estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. Says Talent, "Employers who offered AHPs would see their premiums reduced between 9 and 25 percent."

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