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U.S. Chamber Backs Pooling of Health Care Costs.

A Congressional Budget Officestudy showing that proposed ERISA regulation of association health plans would reduce the number of uninsured Americans who work for small businesses has received the support of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

"The CBO's estimate that 330,000 people would gain access to health care coverage through these regulation. changes may be too conservative," says Kate Sullivan, manager of health care policy for the chamber. "But even a conservative estimate means that more than 650 Main Street businesses in every state would finally be able to afford to offer their employees health coverage."

In today's tight labor market, health care coverage is the most sought-after benefit and typically is valued at 10 to 15 percent of a worker's total compensation, according to the chamber.

The CBO report also estimated that those who now buy commercial state-regulated health plans could save as much as 13 percent by switching to an ERISA-regulated association health plan and spreading the risk through pooling.

"The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed this proposal four times, most recently as part of the Quality Care for the Uninsured Act," says Sullivan. "The Senate should. follow the House's lead and provide as many options for the purchase of health coverage by small businesses and individuals as possible."
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Comment:U.S. Chamber Backs Pooling of Health Care Costs.
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 24, 2000
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