An estimated 41.2 million people were without health insurance in 2001. Legislation under consideration by the 108th and earlier Congresses is intended to assist small employers in offering health insurance as a benefit to their workers. A new bill, H.R. 4281, introduced on May 5, 2004, The Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2003 (H.R. 6601s. 545), and a number of bills from the earlier Congresses include provisions creating new groups for small firms to join or encouraging the growth of existing groups so that small employers can band together to offer coverage to their employees. Opponents of the AHP approach raise concerns that unintended negative consequences would arise, negating the benefits that the new groups would create. While the proposed AHPs are not likely to immediately undermine the small group market, they are likely to require additional features to significantly expand insurance coverage among the uninsured.
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