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Burgess introduces bill to expand healthcare choices

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U.S. Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26)

U.S. Congressman Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) introduced last week the Association Health Plans Act of 2019, which codifies the Trump Administration’s existing rule that enables association health plans.

“The American people – not the federal government – should choose the health insurance plan that works best for them,”Burgess said in a statement. “Association health plans expand the opportunity for Americans to choose insurance that meets their needs, and for employers to provide quality insurance to their employees. As a physician who once owned my own practice, I am encouraged that these plans allow employers, by partnering together, to offer quality coverage that can be more affordable.”

Burgess, Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, represents Texas’ 26th district, which includes Denton County and part of Tarrant County.

“By allowing small businesses and sole proprietors to band together to access the group insurance market, association health plans provide American workers and their families coverage that is fully compliant with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA),” Burgess’ statement said. “Importantly, this form of employer-sponsored insurance cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing conditions. This strategy is working – in North Texas, several chambers of commerce already have begun offering health plans to their members through the North Texas Employer Health Plan Cooperative. All of the plans in this co-op provide coverage for maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder care.

“Where the Affordable Care Act limited Americans’ health care choices, association health plans take a step toward expanding our options and restoring our personal liberty. The Trump Administration, through rulemaking, has prioritized making these commonsense plans accessible. However, the courts have attacked President Trump’s efforts and could jeopardize the individuals who are covered by nearly 30 existing association health plans, including those in Texas. As families face rising out-of-pocket health care costs, I have introduced this legislation to protect Americans’ access to association health plans. I urge Congress to pass this legislation to make health care flexibility the law of the land.”

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About The Author

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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