WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Restaurant Association applauded the House of Representatives for passing the Small Business Fairness Act, H.R. 525 on July 26.
According to a news release, the Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2005 would allow small businesses to join together through trade associations to purchase health insurance. AHPs enable small businesses and their employees to have the same opportunities as those employed by large businesses and unions: affordable health care through economies of scale, greater bargaining power, regulatory uniformity and flexibility in health benefit design.
By removing barriers to affordable coverage, this legislation will also greatly increase competition in health insurance markets with substantial benefits to consumers.
Excessive costs continue to be the main reason that small businesses — including the nation's 900,000 restaurants — struggle to provide health benefits to their employees. Approximately 27 million working Americans are without health insurance, 63 percent work in firms with fewer than 100 employees. Unless continually increasing health care costs are curbed, many employers may be forced to eliminate health benefits for their employees.
The measure received strong bipartisan support in a vote tallied 263-165. The legislation is now up for passage in the U.S. Senate.
"The restaurant industry is dominated by small businesses and this legislation is vitally important to restaurateurs nationwide and their employees, including members of the National Restaurant Association," said Steven C. Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the Association. "We applaud the House for their continued attention to this important industry issue. We are hopeful members of the Senate will give this legislation the same consideration as their House colleagues and ensure affordable, quality health insurance is available to more Americans."
For more information about the NRA's efforts on association health plans, visit restaurant.org.