Download this document in MS Word format


State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint House Resolution

J.R.H.  18

Joint resolution in opposition to federal legislation that would authorize the establishment of small business health plans that preempt state insurance statutes

Offered by:  Representative Chen of Mendon

Whereas, the accessibility of affordable health insurance for all Americans is a worthy and urgent public policy goal, and

Whereas, notwithstanding the need to expand the public’s access to comprehensive health insurance coverage, federal legislation must not  preempt the consumer guarantees and safeguards that Vermont and other states have enacted, and

Whereas, during the 109th Congress, United States Senator Michael Enzi of Wyoming introduced S.1955 “A bill to amend Title I of the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1874 and the Public Health Service Act to expand health care access and reduce costs through the creation of small business health plans and through modernization of the health insurance marketplace,” and

Whereas, this bill would have authorized small businesses that have been in existence at least three years to establish health care plans for their owners, directors, employees, and dependents that are not subject to state regulation, and

Whereas, one of the provisions in the legislation would have prohibited “participating employers from providing coverage to the individual member (qualified individual) not covered by the employer’s health plan which is similar to the coverage provided by the plan, if such exclusion of the employee from plan coverage is based on a health status-related factor, and such employee would, but for such exclusion, be eligible for the plan,” and

Whereas, the legislation would allow the plan to begin operating within 90 days if state regulators, such as the Vermont department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, fail to grant a license, and

Whereas, most significantly, the bill would have preempted “any and all state laws relating to ratings and benefits which may preclude a health insurance issuer from offering health insurance coverage in connection with a small business plan,” and

Whereas, the adoption of this legislation would have exempted these plans from Vermont statutes pertaining to community rating, mental health parity, and mandatory coverage for diabetes, chemotherapy, and mammograms, and

Whereas, federal legislation with these provisions would deny an unknown number of Vermonters the full package of health insurance benefits and rights that the general assembly has enacted into law, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress not to adopt legislation similar to S.1955 of the 109th Congress that would have established new small business health insurance plans that deny Vermonters the health insurance benefits and rights that the general assembly has provided by law for the citizens of Vermont, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.




____________________________              Attested to:

Gaye R. Symington

Speaker of the House


____________________________              ____________________________

Brian E. Dubie                                             Donald G. Milne

President of the Senate                               Clerk, House of Representatives



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont