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IFA SUPPORTS SMALL BUSINESS “CHOICE” ACT TO BRING HEALTHCARE OPTIONS TO SMALL BUSINESSES

For immediate release 
Contact: Alisa Harrison, 202-628-8000

Bill is Positive Step Forward to Affordable Access to Health Insurance for Employees of Small Franchised Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 23, 2008---The International Franchise Association (IFA) today applauded House Small Business Committee Chair Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) for introducing the bipartisan Small Business “CHOICE” Act of 2008 to help small franchised businesses offer affordable health insurance to employees.

The Small Business Cooperative for Healthcare Options to Improve Coverage for Employees, (CHOICE), would permit small businesses to form health insurance cooperatives, which would function similar to risk pools and provide insurance against high-cost or catastrophic claims. 

“In providing a tax credit as an incentive to join a cooperative, this legislation is a positive step forward in addressing the challenges facing franchised small business owners in providing health care coverage to employees,” said IFA Vice President of Government Relations David French.  “We appreciate the leadership of Chairwoman Velazquez to find ways to help small business owners provide health care to employees.  It provides flexibility for franchised business owners to choose the comprehensive health plan that is right for its employees, which will help increase the number of Americans with health insurance.”

The Small Business “CHOICE” ACT addresses two of the most significant problems facing small businesses—the high cost of providing insurance and unpredictable premium increases.  The bill provides tax credits as incentives for small business wellness programs, increases the number of businesses that offer employees affordable comprehensive health insurance, gives employers more flexibility in plan design, encourages the formation of small business purchasing groups and strengthens the private insurance market.

“We look forward to working with Reps. Velazquez and Pitts in seeking passage of this important legislation and raising awareness of the need for more options for small franchised businesses in the health insurance market,” said French. 

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About The International Franchise Association 
The International Franchise Association, the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising, is the preeminent voice and acknowledged leader for the industry worldwide. Approaching a half-century of service with a growing membership of more than 1,300 franchise systems, 10,000-plus franchisees and more than 500 firms that supply goods and services to the industry, IFA protects, enhances and promotes franchising by advancing the values of integrity, respect, trust, commitment to excellence, honesty and diversity. For more information, visit the IFA Web site www.franchise.org.

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