The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® Treasurer Jim Helsel:
"The National Association of Realtors® and its 1.2 million members thank Reps. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., and Joe Pitts, R-Penn., for their commitment to helping small business owners and independent contractors by introducing legislation to help them achieve affordable health insurance. The CHOICE Act - the Small Business Cooperative for Healthcare Options to Improve Coverage for Employees Act - tackles two of the most significant challenges facing small employers - the high cost of comprehensive health insurance and the volatility of insurance premiums.
"The bill would encourage professional associations, credit unions and others to form pooling arrangements for the purpose of offering reinsurance for excess claims. It also offers incentives for the self-employed and small business employers to join cooperatives that provide a refundable tax credit for a large portion of the amount contributed to pay the insurance premiums for workers and their families.
"We believe that this measure is an innovative approach to dealing with the health insurance challenges our members face. Again, we thank the sponsors of this important legislation for recognizing our needs as self-employed and small business owners, and for helping trade associations like NAR better serve our members by providing a means to mitigate the volatility in premium costs."