Health Insurance For Small Businesses Is Part of the Solution

Sep 25, 2017

Health insurance plans that America’s small business associations could create to serve members across state lines should be a piece of the nation’s health care solution, according to National Newspaper Association (NNA). Legislation to authorize national association health plans by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-WY, could make such plans a reality.

NNA President Matthew Paxton IV, publisher of The News-Gazette, Lexington, VA., this week applauded Enzi’s introduction of S. 1818, Small Business Health Plans Act of 2017.

Paxton said Enzi’s leadership had encouraged NNA to explore plans mothballed in the 1990s, when efforts to permit association health insurance plans looked likely, and then failed to pass into law.

“Small business owners have been frustrated for years with the lack of health insurance options,” Paxton said. “It is no secret that the Affordable Care Act offered just a patch on a badly raveled health care fabric for us. Plans are unavailable at reasonable cost for small business owners. Our community newspaper publishers struggle to find coverage that can help keep themselves and their staffs healthy. We see the possibility of plans to be offered by small business organizations across state lines as a vital tool in our national toolkit to keep America’s small newspapers healthy and on the job.”

Enzi’s bill would enable multiple, unaffiliated small employers to form risk pools across state lines to participate in the large group health insurance market. The plans would be overseen by the US Department of Labor but would still require state licenses in states where members are insured. Enzi’s approach addresses one objection that similar bills met in the ‘90s from state insurance commissioners, who were reluctant to lose control over plans operating in their states.

“Senator Enzi understands the challenges of insuring small businesses,” Paxton said. “He has fought for more than a decade to enact plans to help us, and we appreciate his undying determination to inject more fairness into the health care options we have today. It is pretty clear that in order to solve the problem of the uninsured American, we need to be creative and flexible and to find as many different workable approaches as we can. Senator Enzi’s bill is a gigantic step in that direction.”

The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. NNA said it expected to actively seek passage of the legislation.


Contact: Tonda Rush,