Governor Blunt has wrapped up work on this legislative session by signing a bill allowing small businesses to join together to get a cheaper rate on health insurance. Blunt is traveling the state to promote House Bill 1827. It allows small businesses to form association health plans. Such plans allow businesses to join forces in order to buy group health insurance as a single entity. In general, health insurance rates are cheaper for larger groups, such as large corporations. The legislation is modeled after a pilot project in southwest Missouri. The Department of Insurance approved formation of the Southwest Area Manufacturers Association’s Health Care Consortium. The consortium represents 1,300 employees with 32 companies. The Blunt Administration says six of the 32 companies had not been able to access health care for employees before. Savings on health care plans ranged from 18% to 50%. Blunt has now signed all the bills sent him by the legislature. The only vetoes by the governor this year were line-item vetoes in the budget. Blunt vetoed $10.4 million from the nearly $21 billion dollar state budget. His largest veto crossed out about $10 million budgetted for the Access Missouri Scholarship Program. Though the legislature placed the money in the budget, it never approved the bill to actually create the program.
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