Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces. One of the issues Idahoans have contacted me about is S. 1170, the Association Health Plans Act, and Association Health Plans (AHPs). The following is my response:
I support Association Health Plans. The needs of small business owners and employees are of great importance to me. As a result of Obamacare, small business owners have increasingly struggled to find affordable health insurance options for their employees and their employee’s families. AHPs offer a more affordable option for small businesses by enabling them to be regulated like a large employer when they buy insurance.
On April 11, 2019, Senator Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming) introduced S. 1170 in order to make it easier for small businesses to join AHPs and help them deliver affordable health insurance to employees. I am a co-sponsor of S. 1170 that would reinstate a U.S. Department of Labor statute previously struck down by a federal District Court that jeopardizes thousands of health care enrollees. S. 1170 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for further consideration.
Further, on June 24, 2018, the Trump Administration finalized a rule to expand access to association health plans without the burdensome mandates of Obamacare. The regulation will allow small businesses and self-employed individuals to obtain coverage under AHPs. Additionally, working small business owners without other employees, including sole proprietors and their families, will now be able to join AHPs.
Small businesses are the backbone of Idaho’s economy and it is crucial to provide their employers with comprehensive health benefits at an affordable price. Should S. 1170 be brought forward on the Senate floor, I will keep the needs of small business owners and their employees in mind.o access information about some of the important issues of interest, please visit my website, at crapo.senate.gov. The website also provides information about how to contact me to share your views via email, phone and mailing addresses. News about recent activities and information about accessing my Facebook and YouTube pages and following me on Twitter can also be found on the website. Links to legislation and other resources to assist Idahoans who need help with federal agencies can also be accessed on the website. The messages you send me help to shape my approach on a number of important matters. Please continue to contact me and share your thoughts and ideas.