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[IP] Senator Coleman on S.1955



Dear Mr. Williamsen :



Thank you for taking the time to contact me concerning the Health Insurance
Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act of 2005 (S. 1955).

The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported there are approximately
41.2million uninsured Americans. For these Americans, and for everyone
insured
who pays increasingly higher insurance premiums for access to quality care,
it is imperative that the rising cost of health care be addressed. As a
member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I support the concept of
allowing small businesses to come together to offer affordable health
insurance to their employees.

S. 1955 was introduced on November 2, 2005 by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and
was referred to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee where
it was reported out favorably on March 15, 2006. This legislation would
allow small businesses to band together to offer Small Business Health Plans
(SBHP), similar to what is offered by larger companies, like Minnesota 's
General Mills.

I understand your concerns with respect to preempting state insurance laws.
This bill promotes fairness among businesses in negotiating health plans.
Preemption of 50 state insurance regulatory regimes under the federal
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has allowed unions and large
employers to provide cost-effective health benefits that small businesses
would have a difficult time negotiating on their own.

Under this legislation, if the plan chooses to bypass state benefit mandates
and offer a "lower-cost option," then the SBHP must also offer a more
comprehensive plan that covers the same benefits offered in one of the state
employee plans in one of the five most populous states.

You may be interested to know that a report prepared by the Milwaukee firm
of Mercer Oliver Wyman, Inc. for the National Small Business Association
found that S. 1955 would reduce health insurance costs for small businesses
by 12 percent or about $1,000 per employee, and would reduce the number of
uninsured in working families by 8 percent or approximately 1 million
people.

Please know that I will keep your views in mind should this legislation come
before the full Senate for a vote.

I am humbled to serve as your Senator, and hope you will not hesitate to
contact me on any issue of concern to you or your family.



Sincerely,
Norm Coleman
United States Senate

______________________

I have not heard anything back from Senator Dayton yet.
.
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