WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) joined a group of colleagues to introduce legislation to prevent thousands of people from losing their health care coverage after a federal judge struck down the Department of Labor’s Association Health Plans rule.
“Association Health Plans make it easier for small business owners in Texas to offer coverage to employees at an affordable cost,” said Sen. Cornyn. “After hearing from many Texans who rely on these plans, I was proud to partner with my colleagues to help maintain access to affordable and reliable health care options.”
The rule made it easier for small businesses to band together to provide their employees with comprehensive and affordable health insurance that has the same consumer protections that apply to large employer health plans. The legislation, led by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), would ensure the new pathway remains available for small businesses to offer Association Health Plans under the Department of Labor’s final rule.
In Texas, several Chambers of Commerce take advantage of Association Health Plans including the Texas Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, the Longview Chamber of Commerce, the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce, and the North Texas Employer Co-op which is comprised of Chambers of Commerce from Grapevine, Arlington, Colleyville, Coppell, Corsicana, Denison, Denton, and DeSoto.
Association Health Plans are intended to allow small businesses to group together and leverage power in numbers to obtain comprehensive and affordable health insurance as though they were a single large employer. The coverage offered to association members is subject to the consumer protection requirements that apply to the nearly 160 million Americans who receive coverage from large employers.
Roughly 30 Association Health Plans have formed under the rule so far. According to the Congressional Budget Office, about 4 million people are expected to enroll in an Association Health Plan by 2023, including 400,000 who would otherwise be uninsured.
The legislation was also cosponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Martha McSally (R-AZ), John Thune (R-SD), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tim Scott (R-SC), Joni Ernst (R-IA), David Perdue (R-GA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Steve Daines (R-MT).