PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona House has joined the Senate in approving legislation allowing small businesses to join together and create new health insurance plans backers say will lower costs.
Many Democrats argued in opposition that the new "association health plans" aren't required to cover essential services and can charge more for older workers and women. They called them "junk" insurance plans.
Republican backers of the proposal and some Democrats rejected that characterization during debate Wednesday. The proposal by GOP Sen. Kate Brophy McGee will allow small employers to band together to create self-insurance pools or to negotiate lower insurance rates.
The new plans are allowed under Trump Administration rules that side-step many provisions of the Affordable Care Act. A federal judge in late March invalidated the rules, but the government is appealing.