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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Daily Real Estate News  |   February 17, 2005  |   NAR Applauds Senate AHP Bill Introduction The National Association of REALTORS® applauds U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Jim Talent (R-Mo.), and Kit Bond (R-Mo.), for introducing the Small Business Health Fairness Act (S. 406), on Wednesday night. The legislation, which is one of NAR’s top priorities, would allow small businesses and self-employed workers to band together through membership in a trade or professional association and negotiate lower health insurance costs for participants under an association health plan (AHP). Association health plans would operate under the same rules as federally-regulated large corporate and union health plans that provide group health insurance to all participants regardless of where they live. U.S. Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and David Vitter (R-La.), have signed onto the bill. Companion legislation, H.R. 525, was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this month by U.S. Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), and Albert Wynn (D-Md.), and now has a bipartisan list of 94 cosponsors. The bill is identical to legislation that passed the House twice last year with bipartisan support. President Bush also signaled his strong support for AHPs by highlighting the issue in his recent State of the Union address and other speeches. “America’s 1 million REALTORS® look forward to working with Congress and the administration to make sure association health plan legislation is enacted this year,” said NAR President Al Mansell, CEO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Salt Lake City. “Most REALTORS® are small business people or independent contractors who struggle to find quality, affordable health care for their employees and families. Association health plans will allow small businesses to compete with large employers for workers who need good health care coverage for their families. These plans will also put self-employed workers on equal footing with corporate employees and union members when it comes to quality, affordable health insurance.” A significant number of America’s 41 million uninsured citizens work for small businesses who cannot afford to offer quality health insurance benefits to their workers. According to a 2004 NAR survey, 28 percent of REALTORS® have no health insurance at all, compared to 13 percent reporting no coverage in 1996. Only 7 percent of real estate firms offer health care coverage for independent contractors, who are the largest segment of real estate professionals. NAR is part of a coalition of more than 170 groups, including the National Federation of Independent Business, that has endorsed the AHP legislation. —NAR

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