Alexander Urges Senate Passage of Bill to Bring Affordable Health Insurance to Small Buisnesses

Posted on May 10, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today urged passage of the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (S. 1955), legislation that would allow business and trade associations to band their members together and offer group health coverage on a national or regional basis in response to increased costs that are driving employers and families from comprehensive coverage. “Ninety-seven percent of the businesses in Tennessee are small businesses. Whether I go to Mountain City or Sevierville or Lexington or Memphis – wherever I go in Tennessee, a small business man or woman says to me: We cannot afford health care costs, and we need some help,” Alexander said. “We have some help. This legislation will reduce health care costs for small businesses across the country and reduce the number of Americans who are uninsured because their employers cannot afford to offer them healthcare insurance.” According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 33.9 percent of Tennessee firms with fewer than 50 employees offer health insurance to their employees. In contrast, 95.2 percent of Tennessee firms with 50 employees or more offer health insurance to their employees. The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act will promote lower costs and greater access to health insurance by: Permitting the creation of fully insured “Small Business Health Plans;” Creating more options in benefit design, and; Harmonizing insurance regulations across state lines while keeping states as the primary regulators. “This is a piece of legislation worth passing,” Alexander said. “We must take advantage of this opportunity to help small businesses men and women in Tennessee and across the country find affordable health insurance.”