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Letters to the Editor

Health plan help

| Saturday, July 26, 2003

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has often been a friend of working people. Now he can help us again by co-sponoring legislation that would permit small businesses to join together to shop for insurance at volume discount rates.

The House has passed legislation to make this happen. The Senate should do the same with the Small Business Health Fairness Act (S. 545).

The legislation's aim is to attack the escalating cost of health insurance for small businesses, which have reported increases of 30 percent and more during the past year. The increases are squeezing profits, forcing employees to pay for a larger share of their insurance and even prompting some businesses to cut back their health coverage or stop offering it.

About 60 percent of the nation's uninsured work for small businesses or depend upon someone who does. Contributing to the cost problem for small businesses is the fact that one small company does not have enough employees to attract the lower rates available to large corporations. Buying in bulk gives you a volume discount.

Some groups already sponsor pooled small-business health plans. But they are allowed only on a state-by-state basis and must abide by state regulations. That prevents the big savings that national small-business associations could offer.

At no cost to taxpayers, the Small Business Health Fairness Act offers small businesses an opportunity to control rising health insurance costs. It also offers the country an opportunity to ensure that more people are covered by health insurance. Call or write Sen. Santorum and ask him to co-sponsor the bill.

David K. Cranston Jr.
Robinson

The writer is owner of Harwood J. Cranston Company in Sewickley, which distributes industrial equipment.

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