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[IP] FW: AGs Ask Congress To Reject Legislation To Authorize Association Health Plans

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,
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