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Senate health care package promotes Association Health Plans.

In response to President Bush's charge to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance, Senate Republicans currently are pushing for the passage of new legislation introduced by Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). "The Healthy America Act of 2005" (S.4) is a comprehensive package of various health care issues.

According to the bill, Association Health Plans (AHPs) would be subject to federal law instead of state regulations. AHPs have been a priority on AFS' federal affairs agenda, and members took this issue to Capitol Hill during recent meetings in September in Washington.

In addition to the AHP provision, the bill incorporated a series of tax incentives by the Bush administration to individuals and small businesses to encourage more Americans to purchase health insurance. Other topics covered in the bill include a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases and a funding boost for health information technology.

Frist, a former medical doctor, considers health care his specialty and may attempt to push the bill through the Senate before Congress adjourns later this fall. With time running out before Congress' adjournment, however, passage of S.4 before the end of the year seems doubtful. This bill and other non-essential legislation lost some standing on the Congressional agenda due to the Supreme Court vacancies and the effects of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

For a complete summary of this health care legislation, visit: 072805S4Summary.pdf.
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Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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