Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) has cosponsored H.R. 1101 -- the Small Business Health Fairness Act. This legislation would empower small businesses to join together through association health plans (AHPs) to provide their employees greater access to affordable health care.

“Whenever I travel throughout the district, constituents and businesses regular tell me about the problems they are having due to high costs due to the Affordable Care Act,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “As we work to repeal and replace this broken law, we must enact reforms that will lower costs and help our businesses thrive. This commonsense healthcare fix would allow small businesses to band together and give them the same advantages larger businesses have when purchasing healthcare. This will help expand access as well as lower costs for families and businesses – a win-win for the North Country.”

BACKGROUND: Due to their size and economies of scale, large businesses and labor organizations have the ability to negotiate on behalf of employees for high-quality health care at more affordable costs. By offering a qualified group health plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), these large employers and labor organizations are also exempt from myriad state rules and regulations on health insurance.

Small businesses, however, do not have the same bargaining power as larger businesses. Small businesses are also unable to band together to increase their bargaining power in the health insurance marketplace. By allowing small businesses to join together through association health plans (AHPs), small businesses can have greater ability to negotiate for lower health care costs for their employees. 

The Small Business Health Fairness Act would empower small businesses to join together through AHPs to offer health insurance for their employees at a lower cost. Through these reforms, H.R. 1101 will:

  • Increase small businesses’ bargaining power with insurance providers and put them on a more level playing field with larger companies and unions.
  • Expand affordable coverage for working families who want to purchase health insurance through their employer.
  • Lower administrative costs for small businesses who face limited resources and want to provide health insurance to their employees.

For a copy of H.R. 1101, click here.

To read a fact sheet, click here