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Posted 5/13/2006
By B.J. Johnson

AHP Legislation Awaits Approval of Senate

U.S. Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has released a survey that reveals tremendous bipartisan support for small business health plans. An overwhelming 89 percent of the public surveyed favored the small business health plan concept; 6 percent opposed. Enzi released these results March 30, 2006.

The survey was conducted to urge the Senate to pass S. 1955, "The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act." S. 1955 was introduced by Enzi and co-sponsored by Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Conrad Burns, R-Mont. If passed, this bill would allow business and trade associations to offer health coverage to their members at a more affordable level. It would also grant health insurance access to about 1 million workers who are currently not covered.

S. 1955 is different from the Small Business Health Fairness Act introduced and passed in the House of Representatives.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that small businesses are less likely than larger businesses to provide health insurance to their workers and that half of the uninsured in the United States work for small businesses. Legislation introduced prior to and during the 109th Congress works toward providing health insurance to small business employees. However, two bills offer alternate approaches to providing coverage to these workers. H.R. 525 or S. 406 and S. 1955 would create programs called Association Health Plans (AHPs).

H.R. 525 was passed in the House of Representatives in July 2005. S. 1955 was approved by HELP in March 2006 and currently awaits approval by the full Senate. These bills will create rules for trade associations and small businesses to follow in providing health insurance coverage to their members. Bob Redding, ASA's Washington, D.C., representative, said, "The Senate has been the most difficult forum for AHP legislation. We are hopeful the full Senate will address the bill soon." To view the CRS report, visit www.TakingTheHill.com.

ASA-Texas Holds Automotive Show

ASA-Texas held its annual Southwest Regional Automotive Show (SRAS) March 24-26 at the Marriott Westchase Hotel in Houston. The three-day event featured a golf tournament, a welcome party and board of directors' installation.

The more than 100 attendees had an opportunity to attend four management seminars and four technical training courses on various topics such as mode 6, original equipment manufacturer service information, fuel tips, and fuel injection diagnostics. The instructors for these classes were Jim Linder, Gary Gunn, Bill Haas and Rolland Trowbridge. Charlie Elder, AAM, ASA national chairman, was the luncheon guest speaker and had the privilege of swearing in the new ASA-Texas board of directors.

In addition to education, the event offered a trade show of the latest products and services offered to the industry. The 74 booths attracted 350 attendees.

A highlight of the annual event is the Saturday night auction and exhibitor appreciation dinner. Each year, the Texas affiliate auctions off donated items to raise funds for its political action committee. A long-standing tradition of the affiliate is to auction off homemade pecan pies. This year, the affiliate had two prized pies to auction; one was auctioned for $1,200 while the second garnered $800. Overall, the auction raised just under $10,000 for the ASA-Texas political action committee.


Reminder of the Month Interested in becoming a national board member?

Any national regular member interested in being considered for the Automotive Service Association (ASA) national board of directors should contact the national office and request a Consideration Form. Contact Jo Ann Abramuk toll free at (800) 272-7467, ext. 211. Consideration Forms must be completed and received no later than July 14, 2006.


National News

  • ASA Members: You have the opportunity to win a free trip to CARS 2006 by participating in ASA's Chairman's Club. Visit the Members Only area of ASA's Web site, www.asashop.org, to see how you can win!
  • ASA's Annual Meeting was held April 26-29 at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas. Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief staff executive, delivered a state-of-the-association address during the Saturday luncheon, and Charlie Elder, AAM, was sworn in as chairman of the ASA board of directors.
  • ASA will be participating in the 11th annual Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) program May 17-18 in Dearborn, Mich. Ron Pyle will be moderating a panel discussion on "The Myths and Realities of Automotive Service and Repair," which will include several ASA participants.
  • ASA welcomes Brie Ragland as its newest staff member. Ragland joins the staff as ASA's marketing manager. Her responsibilities include developing and implementing the association's overall strategic marketing plan. She will also work closely with ASA's benefit providers and coordinate the launching of new benefit programs. She can be reached at ASA's national headquarters at (800) 272-7467, ext. 240, or by e-mail at brier@asashop.org.




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