Today, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO) that expands Association Health Plans (AHPs) and possibly creates a pathway for the sale of health insurance across state lines through the AHPs. A summary of the EO can be found here and a frequently asked questions document can be found here.
For more than a decade, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has supported efforts to increase small businesses’ health insurance options through AHPs. Legislation to enable AHPs passed the House of Representatives earlier this year and was supported by the NAM. The key-vote letter in support of the Small Business Health Fairness Act, H.R. 1101, can be found here. Senate Republicans have discussed various AHP proposals but have not yet moved on a bill.
Conceptually, AHPs are certainly not new. Some business associations around the country already offer health insurance to their members and others do not because of ongoing restrictions or marketplace uncertainty. It’s time to proliferate AHPs and make this health care option more widely available. Over the course of several years, the NAM has urged elected officials to usher in this important reform.
Manufacturers are in a dynamic health care environment that continues to evolve, yet costs continue to rise for many. Old ideas are coming back, and new ideas are also being presented in light of the high demand for change in the current health care landscape. Rising health costs continue to top the charts as the leading business challenge facing manufacturers according to recent NAM survey data. These ongoing health care cost increases stand in the way of increasing wages, hiring new employees, purchasing new equipment and making other needed investments that keep manufacturing production competitive.
Today’s EO is a positive step and gives the NAM, as a trade association representing more than 13,000 members and more than 12 million men and women who make things, a new tool as our members continue to seek more affordable health care options.
The appetite is strong, and while a lot of details are still required to move forward on what the EO outlines and directs, today’s presidential action will incentivize needed relief that introduces more choice, increased competition and greater efficiencies to benefit manufacturers and other small businesses around the country.
The president is acting on a strong demand for health care reform and directly addressing some of the key failures of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At the same time, the NAM remains concerned about looming ACA-related taxes that will soon burden manufacturers. Congress must act quickly to prevent the job-killing health insurance tax and medical device tax from going into effect in 2018. For more information on the impact of these taxes, click here.
Manufacturers look forward to working with Congress and President Trump not only to implement the EO but also repeal the job-killing ACA taxes set to raise health care costs in 2018.
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