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2008-04-02 22:13:00

U.S. Health Care System Must Be Reformed, Say 91% of REALTORS

Washington, DC, Apr. 2, 2008 - The National Assn. of REALTORS® joined U.S. Senators Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.; Olympia Snowe, R-Maine; and Norm Coleman, R-Minn. as they introduced the Small Business Health Options Program today. NAR supports and endorses the program but reiterates the importance of reforming the U.S. health care market for small businesses and independent contractors.

A recently conducted 2008 NAR Health Insurance Coverage survey found that 91% of REALTORS® believe that the U.S. health care system should be reformed, and 82% believe the current health care system is not meeting the needs of most Americans. Nearly a quarter of NAR’s 1.3 million members do not have health care insurance, and for most REALTORS® without insurance, the reason is cost.

“More than half of all REALTORS® report that the current health care system is not meeting their needs or those of their family,” said NAR President-elect Charles McMillan, who spoke at the press conference in which SHOP was introduced. “This issue is substantial and meaningful, and it affects REALTORS® and other small business employees and independent contractors all across our country. That is why NAR joined the senators today in a strong show of support.”

As proposed, SHOP would offer tax incentives to encourage states to reform small group insurance markets and to make health insurance premiums for small businesses and the self-employed more affordable. It would also develop a nationwide insurance small business purchasing pool that would still be subject to state insurance regulation to protect those who choose to participate.

“We believe that the legislation introduced today is a much needed step forward in addressing the challenges facing our members, and we thank Senator Durbin for his efforts,” McMillan said. “We appreciate that the senators recognize that small businesses need help navigating the health insurance markets and have created a role for trade associations to help guide their self-employed and small business members through the process.”

NAR supports the newly introduced SHOP concept and believes that the proposed program will offer more choices and lower costs for the self-employed and small businesses.

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