WASHINGTON - Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) applauded the release of a national survey showing that 93 percent of Americans support legislation allowing small businesses to join together to purchase health insurance, giving them the same power to negotiate insurance prices enjoyed by large corporations. This Association Health Plans (AHP) legislation (S. 545/H.R. 660) is currently pending in the U.S. Senate. Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed AHP legislation.

"This survey shows that 93 percent of Americans understand that small businesses in America deserve the same opportunity to gain the economies of scale in the purchase of health insurance for employees that labor unions and Fortune 500 firms already enjoy," said Kirk Pickerel, ABC president and CEO. "It is time for the U.S. Senate to pass Association Health Plans legislation. The U.S. House supports AHPs. President Bush supports AHPs. America's small businesses and their employees support AHPs. And now, the American people have voiced their strong support. The Senate has delayed while more American workers have lost insurance coverage; it is time to pass AHP legislation."

The survey was conducted March 1-3, 2004 by American Viewpoint, a public opinion research firm, on behalf of the Federation of American Hospitals. Called "A National Survey on the Health Care Insurance Issue," American Viewpoint surveyed 1,000 registered voters on health care issues and congressional proposals to address those issues. The survey also found that most Americans believe that the high cost of health insurance is both the most significant problem with the health insurance system today and is most responsible for the problem of the uninsured.

"Association Health Plans allow bona-fide trade associations like ABC to offer health insurance plans to their members, across state lines," said Pickerel. "By offering a uniform plan to all members of an association, the bargaining power and economies of scale would save small employers significant premium dollars."

Publication date: 04/19/2004