Skip to content

Chairman Smith Floor Remarks – Opening Statement for the CHOICE Arrangement Act

June 20, 2023

As prepared for delivery.

“We are here today considering this legislation because we have listened to the American people and are taking action on their behalf.

“The Ways and Means Committee has traveled 5,000 miles to hear directly from working Americans about the impact today’s economy has had on them and their communities.

“Whether it be in a lumber mill in West Virginia or a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, workers, families, farmers, and small businesses have told us the same thing: they need relief from the Biden economy.

“The legislation before us today will help make life a little bit easier on small businesses. It allows them to provide more options to their employees when it comes to health insurance benefits.

“The CHOICE Arrangement Act gives small businesses more flexibility to provide health insurance benefits to current and future workers. Introduced by Representative Hern, this legislation codifies a Trump Administration rule allowing small businesses to reimburse employees for buying their own health insurance on the individual market.

“Washington should not stand in the way of workers getting the health care coverage that’s best for them and their families. Just as important, workers should be able to take their insurance plan with them if they leave their current job. This bill gives small businesses the opportunity, if they so choose, to shed the administrative burden of managing traditional insurance coverage. At the same time, it gives workers more options for their own health care and makes that coverage portable.

“Also included in the underlying bill is a provision from Representative Tenney which ensures small businesses are made aware of the flexible, tax-advantaged insurance coverage options available to them and their employees. We’ve heard that 70 percent of small businesses are not aware of the various health insurance options out there, such as CHOICE Arrangements, Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements, or the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. This bill would make sure small businesses are notified about the availability and tax benefits of these options, so businesses can make more informed decisions about how to support their employees’ health care choices.

“This legislation also includes important provisions to increase access to stop-loss insurance and expand Association Health Plans, which will create more choices for American small businesses to offer health benefits to their workers at lower costs.

“Mom-and-pop stores did not set out to be paper pushers and benefit managers – and we should not force them into that role. I urge my colleagues to support this bill to help small businesses support their workforce and let them focus on what they do best – serving their customers and employees.”