Bush Promotes Plan to Allow Small Business to Pool Together to Purchase Health Insurance for Employees
As expected, President Bush yesterday promoted a plan that would allow small businesses to insure their employees with health plans operated by trade groups or professional associations, the New York Times reports. Bush offered the plan at a Labor Department conference for women entrepreneurs. Under the plan, groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses would manage the health plans, which could cut health expenses by spreading the risk and cost of insurance across employers in different states. Bush said the plan "allows association groups to write health care plans across jurisdictional boundaries to the benefit not only of the small business owner, but to the benefit of those who work for small businesses." He added, "It makes no sense, no sense in America, to isolate small businesses as little health care islands unto themselves." The proposal has been criticized in the past by Democrats, state officials and consumer groups as "good in theory but bad in practice," the Times reports. Critics say the plans waive consumer protections and would be able to deny coverage to the "oldest and sickest patients." Ron Pollack, executive director of the consumer group Families USA, said, "The concept is terrific. But the details of the proposal always cause enormous problems" (Bumiller, New York Times, 3/20).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.