WASHINGTON — The Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 660), also known as the Association Health Plan (AHP) legislation, was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Ernie Fletcher, R-Ky.

The legislation gives companies the opportunity to band together with other companies and purchase healthcare at a lower cost. Fletcher anticipates that the legislation would reduce the high cost of health insurance for small businesses and the self-employed by allowing them to enroll their employees and families in AHP plans. Fletcher indicated that this plan is expected to help reduce health insurance costs by 15 percent to 30 percent.

The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by more than 70 representatives. A similar bill is slated to be introduced in the Senate by Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Jim Talent, R-Mo.

Various organizations, including the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), support the Small Business Health Fairness Act.

“Affordable health care is the No. 1 priority for our contractor members, their employees, and their families,” said Paul T. Stalknecht, president and CEO of ACCA. “A survey of ACCA members conducted last year showed that on average, small contracting businesses are paying over 60 percent more for health insurance than they were just three years ago.”

Publication date: 02/24/2003