Health Plan Legislation Under Consideration
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) on Wednesday said that he and Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) are looking for ways to win approval for a bill to allow small businesses to join together across state lines to form association health plans, CongressDaily reports. Legislation was approved in the House during the last Congress but was rejected in the Senate.
The bill "faced fierce opposition from Democrats and several Republicans, who expressed concern that allowing small businesses to form insurance pools would permit them to bypass too many state regulations," CongressDaily reports. "[P]ossibilities for compromise might still exist in terms of pooled health insurance plans within a regulated government framework," according to CongressDaily.
Nelson said, "There is a middle ground being discussed," adding, "Sen. Enzi and I have talked about possible changes." Enzi last week told reporters that he is "making progress" in negotiations with colleagues.
Separately, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) have introduced a bill that includes health tax credits for small businesses and federal grants for states to help businesses set up group purchasing cooperatives (Johnson, CongressDaily, 1/18).