Groups Launch Ad Campaign Against Association Health Plan Bill
AARP, the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society have launched an advertising campaign in opposition to a bill (S 1955) that would allow small businesses to form association health plans under certain conditions, CQ HealthBeat reports. As part of the campaign, an ad will appear on Sunday in the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today and Washington Times.
According to AARP CEO Bill Novelli, an ad that appeared last week in 18 states has prompted "thousands of calls" to Congress from individuals who oppose the bill (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 4/27).
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), would allow small businesses and trade associations to partner to offer group health plans on a statewide or nationwide basis. The bill would allow supervision of the plans to remain with state officials, rather than with the Department of Labor.
In addition, although the legislation would allow small businesses and trade associations to pool members independently, they would have to establish fully funded plans, rather than self-insured plans. Under the bill, health insurers could market plans to businesses and individuals that do not meet current state benefits requirements (California Healthline, 4/27).
In addition to the ad campaign, volunteers for the three groups will seek to rally opposition to the legislation. ACS also has launched a separate ad campaign against the bill. The Senate could vote on the legislation in early May (CQ HealthBeat, 4/27).