WASHINGTON - The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is continuing its push for Association Health Plan (AHP) legislation. To bolster its argument for AHPs, ABC cited recent figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau stating that the number of Americans without health insurance has increased by 5.7 percent in 2002.

The legislation, S. 545, was introduced on March 6, 2003. The U.S. House of Representatives passed companion legislation on June 19, 2003, but to date the U.S. Senate has failed to consider the legislation.

"America's workers have waited too long for help on the rising costs of health care coverage," said Kirk Pickerel, ABC president and CEO. "It's time for action. The House has passed this bipartisan legislation, the Bush administration advocates passage of this legislation, but as more and more Americans lose health coverage, the Senate continues to delay."

Pickerel also said that AHPs could reduce health insurance costs by 20 percent or more by allowing small businesses to join together for better bargaining.

ABC established an association health benefits plan in 1957, but was forced to discontinue the health benefits portion in 2001. ABC's insurance carrier terminated the coverage because of incompatible and inconsistent state laws, making it too expensive to provide coverage.

For more information, visit www.abc.org.

Publication date: 10/13/2003