The House Committee on Education and the Workforce today held a subcommittee hearing on a Department of Labor proposed rule that would allow small employers and sole proprietors to form association health plans based on geography or industry. Witness John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, said the rule would lead the risk pool in the remaining individual market to become “unbalanced,” causing “rates to soar for everybody else,” and offer fewer consumer protections. Christopher Condeluci, principal of CC Law & Policy and a former Republican counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, said the proposal would allow “millions” of employers to offer comprehensive health coverage at lower cost. Witnesses for the National Association of REALTORS and International Franchise Association said the proposed rule would give their members access to more affordable health insurance options. In comments submitted to DOL this month, AHA urged the agency not to finalize the rule, citing concerns it could lead to discriminatory insurance practices and instability in the individual and small group market, and instead work with stakeholders to reduce costs and improve health plan choices for individuals and small businesses.