Small Business Group Urges Federal Appeals Court to Block Association Health Plans

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Statement by John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority, on a recently filed amicus brief in New York v. U.S. Department of Labor asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to uphold a decision striking down association health plans


Small Business Majority filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to uphold a previous decision to strike down a U.S. Department of Labor Rule that makes it easier for groups to form association health plans (AHPs). Rejecting this final rule is essential to protect the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) gains for small businesses, their employees and the self-employed. 

The AHP rule is of serious concern because it could cause chaos in the ACA marketplaces. While the rule may make it easier for a select number of small businesses with younger and/or healthier employees to purchase coverage through AHPs, the tradeoff is small employers with older and/or sicker workers would end up paying more. If healthier customers exit the ACA marketplaces in large numbers, it would create a risk imbalance that would result in major premium spikes for small firms that remain in the small group market. Many consumers who need robust healthcare would eventually be priced out as a result. What’s more, these multi-state plans offer fewer consumer safeguards. In fact, they do not have to comply with the ACA’s requirement to cover essential health benefits like maternity care or prescription coverage, and they may be designed to exclude those with existing health conditions. 

The ACA must not be weakened because it has provided quality, affordable health coverage to numerous small firms that once struggled to access health insurance. Prior to the enactment of the healthcare law, small businesses and their employees represented a disproportionate share of uninsured workers. Today, more than 5.7 million small business employees or self-employed workers are enrolled in the ACA marketplaces, and more than half of all ACA marketplace enrollees nationwide are small business owners, self-employed individuals or small business employees. 

It is a demonstrable fact that the ACA helped millions of small business owners, their employees and solo entrepreneurs gain quality, affordable health insurance. The administration’s alternatives to the ACA are not only inadequate, they have the potential to make the ACA less effective. America’s small business owners depend on the ACA, which is why we hope AHPs are once again struck down.


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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