Wilson Votes to Increase Health Care Access

Jun 19, 2003
Press Release
Today, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) voted in favor of a bill to improve access and reduce costs of quality health care to Americans who need it most - employees of small businesses. The Small Business Health Fairness Act, (H.R. 660) passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 262-162. “Millions of working families across the nation cannot afford quality healthcare on their own, and many small businesses that employ these families cannot afford to offer quality health coverage,” said Rep. Wilson. “With the strong vote today by Republicans, small business will be able to group together to offer their employees similar benefits as large corporations. This is a huge healthcare victory for South Carolina’s working families.” Moreover, in a speech today in Fridley, Minnesota, President Bush said that, "We're worried about regulation on small business in Washington, D.C. We understand what regulation does to our small businesses. I believe in associated health care plans for small businesses to allow small businesses to pull risk across jurisdictional lines so as to reduce the cost of small businesses and their employees. The House is taking this bill up today. It's a timely subject. I hope they pass it. And when they do, the United States Senate must act for the sake of affordable health care for the employees of small businesses all across this country." The Small Business Health Fairness Act will: -Provide quality health care to millions. 41 million Americans are without health insurance; nearly 60% are either employed by small businesses or dependent on someone who is employed by a small business. -Lower the cost of health insurance for employers. Small businesses will be able to create association health plans and purchase health insurance collectively for their workers at a lower cost. Savings to employers and employees could range from nine to as much as 25 percent in reduced premiums. -Expand and improve health coverage. Requires AHPs to cover specific diseases, maternal and newborn hospitalization, and mental health illnesses. -Reduce the number of uninsured Americans. Recent studies show that up to 8.5 million uninsured workers and dependents could gain coverage immediately under the congressional plan. ###