In an effort to make health insurance affordable for uninsured Americans, a team of congressmen and women recently introduced the Small Business Fairness Act. Brought before the House of Representatives by Representatives Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.), Nydia Velasquez (D-N.Y.), and Cal Dooley (D-Calif.), the bill is the first ever for association health plans (AHP).

AHPs allow small businesses buy into group health insurance plans anywhere in the country, enabling them to pay less than they now pay for small policies directly from insurers. The major obstacle to AHPs to date has been varying state benefit mandates. However, this bill would allow small businesses to be exempt from state-specific mandates.

The Senate is preparing similar legislation to be introduced by Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) in April.