While Congress continues to struggle with a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced a plan of his own to reduce the financial impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses without repealing the entire system.
If approved, the Small Business Health Plans bill would allow multiple small businesses to pool employees, across state lines, to purchase health insurance coverage for their employees in a large group market.
Banding groups of small businesses together would provide them greater negotiating power for better prices and greater benefits for their employees, Enzi said.
Enzi began work on this bill in 2004 and has introduced it several times. The tumultuous debate surrounding health care may be a boon for a bill that is not a full overhaul of the health care system, but a slight alteration to help small businesses, which were especially affected by Obamacare, continue to afford health care for their employees.
“I have heard from small businesses for years regarding the need for greater flexibility and more options for providing health insurance coverage to their employees,” Enzi said.
“Cost is clearly an issue when purchasing health insurance, so we need to find ways to help them get lower prices. Small businesses make up about 99 percent of all employers and this legislation would provide them with the negotiating power that they could never have on their own, which in turn benefits their employees.”
Introduced Thursday, the Senate bill has yet to receive any co-sponsors.
“He’s been working this for over a decade now,” Max D’Onofrio, Enzi’s press secretary said. “It’s something we’ll continue to work on.”