Attorneys General Ask Congress To Reject Legislation To Authorize Association Health Plans
Attorneys general of 36 states have sent a letter to Congress that asks lawmakers to reject legislation to authorize association health plans, the Tennessean reports (Lewis, Tennessean, 5/8). Last month, the House Education and Workforce Employer and Employee Subcommittee approved a bill (HR 660), sponsored by Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), that would allow businesses in the same trade groups to form AHPs exempt from state regulations that require health plans to provide certain benefits. Supporters maintain that the legislation would help control health care costs and help reduce the number of uninsured U.S. residents. According to opponents, however, the bill would lead to the development of inadequate health plans exempt from state insurance regulations and would prompt employers to switch to AHPs to reduce costs (California Healthline, 4/9). In the letter to Congress, the attorneys general wrote, "We know from past experience that exempting these plans from state law harms consumers." The office of Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers said in a statement that state regulators spend "considerable time and resources" on enforcement of insurance regulations and that AHPs would allow "yet another form of unregulated insurance entity to be offered up to the public." However, the 600,000-member National Federation of Independent Business, which supports the House bill, said that AHPs would "level the playing field" among small businesses, labor unions and large companies, the Tennessean reports. The House twice since 1995 has approved bills to authorize AHPs; the Senate has never passed such legislation (Tennessean, 5/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.