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Senator Santorum Continus to Fight for Health Care for All Pennsylvanians

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Location: Washington, DC


Senator Santorum Continus to Fight for Health Care for All Pennsylvanians

As part of his continued efforts to provide affordable health care to all Americans, U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today cosponsored S. 406, the Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2005. This legislation would provide for the establishment and governance of Association Health Plans (AHPs). Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is the original cosponsor of this legislation, which draws bipartisan support.

"Ninety-eight percent of all business in Pennsylvania is small business -- so I recognize the importance of lowering the costs of health care for hard working small businessmen and women so they can continue to serve as the engine of America's economy," said Senator Santorum. "I understand that far too many small business owners and employees simply don't share the same health insurance benefits and options that many larger businesses offer; as a result, many Pennsylvania families are left with a hefty financial burden when it comes to something as essential as health care."

Associated Health Plans (AHPs) offer employers the opportunity to join together through associations to provide healthcare coverage for their employees. When small businesses and individuals attempt to purchase health insurance, they are often quoted a much higher price per person than a large corporation or union. AHPs give associations the same advantages currently enjoyed by larger employers and unions--greater bargaining power to obtain lower premiums and smaller administrative costs.

The benefits of AHPs to small businesses, and more importantly, to the quality and affordability of health care available to Pennsylvanians, will be substantial. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that small businesses obtaining insurance through AHPs should experience an average premium reduction of thirteen percent, with the possibility of premium reductions of as much as twenty-five percent. CBO also determined that AHPs would provide 620,000 previously uninsured workers with employer-based coverage by 2010. Senator Santorum has been a proponent of market-based solutions to the problems of the uninsured and underinsured. His cosponsorship of the Small Business Health Fairness Act is another step towards ensuring that Pennsylvania's small businesses will have the opportunity to obtain access to quality and affordable health care.

In a letter from the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), NAW president Dirk Van Dongen wrote, "Your support for this initiative provides a substantial boost to its prospects for success ... The cost of providing health insurance will be brought within the reach of many smaller employers in Pennsylvania, and the ultimate beneficiaries will be small business employees and their dependents."

"On behalf of the 600,000 members of NFIB, we thank Senator Santorum for sponsoring the Small Business Health Fairness Act," said Dan Danner, Executive Vice President of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). "Senator Santorum's support illustrates to small-business owners and the uninsured in Pennsylvania and across the nation his commitment to making quality, affordable health care a reality. More than 25 million of the uninsured across America are small-business owners, employees or dependents of small businesses with less than 100 employees, and they account for the largest segment of the uninsured population. NFIB appreciates Senator Santorum's support of this common sense, small-business-friendly legislation and is hopeful that his leadership will help provide the momentum necessary to spur the Senate to act on S. 406."

http://santorum.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.View&ContentRecord_id=1504&Region_id=0&Issue_id=0&CFID=6802519&CFTOKEN=63480384

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