NRCA now is closer than ever to offering quality affordable health insurance to
its members across state lines. This can happen when association health plan (AHP)
legislation passes the House of Representatives and Senate and is signed into law
by President Bush. However, the Senate may be unlikely to pass the bill. Therefore,
NRCA encourages you to contact your state's two U.S. senators and urge them to support
You can use the following sample letter to write your state's two U.S. senators
about AHPs. To find your elected officials, contact the U.S. Capitol Switchboard
at (202) 224-3121 and provide the name of your senator(s) to be connected. Please
direct any questions to NRCA's Washington, D.C., office at (800) 338-5765 or e-mail
Craig Brightup, NRCA's vice president of government relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Senator ______:
I am writing to urge you to cosponsor S545, the Small Business Health Fairness Act
of 2003. Introduced on March 6, S545 would expand access to health care for millions
of uninsured workers in America by permitting the creation of federally-sanctioned
association health plans (AHPs). AHPs would allow bona fide associations, such as
the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), an association to which I belong,
to offer health benefits to their members under the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act (ERISA) of 1974.
S545 is vitally important to me and other roofing contractors because it will allow
us to band together across state lines through our association memberships to purchase
health coverage for our employees and their families. By enrolling in an AHP, a
small business would be able to secure the same economies of scale, purchasing clout
and administrative efficiencies that large companies and labor unions currently
enjoy. This would result in lower health-care costs and new coverage options for
the working uninsured, whose only current choice is high-priced, over-regulated
plans that often exist in their states.
For more than 25 years, labor unions, medium-sized businesses and Fortune 500 companies
have been able to provide group health coverage under ERISA. These ERISA plans have
saved those companies from the cumbersome and expensive task of having to comply
with different rules, regulations, and benefit mandates that exist in each of the
50 states. Today, more than 115 million workers in America are covered by ERISA
Unfortunately, small businesses currently do not have the same opportunity. By most
estimates, approximately 42 million workers in America are without health insurance.
And of that figure, more than 60 percent reside in a family in which the principal
wage earner is employed by a small business that potentially could take advantage
of AHPs. Under the current system, rising health-care costs have priced insurance
premiums beyond the reach of many small businesses. To make matters worse, the number
of insurers that serve the small-business market continues to dwindle.
Again, I urge you to support S545 to correct this arbitrary and unjust imbalance
by placing small businesses on a level playing field with larger businesses and
labor unions. My employees, their families and I deserve greater access to affordable