A handful of Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa House are trying to come up with a way to reduce the cost of the health insurance benefits small business owners give their employees. The lawmakers have ideas, but no plan yet and no idea of how much they’d want the state to spend to reduce businesses’ premium costs.

Republican Representative Jeff Kaufmann of Wilton says it’s “a work in progress.” Kaufmann says it’s got to be a bipartisan effort and their work can’t be dominated by special interests. However, the group’s members say the state’s insurance industry will be a vital player in developing a solution.

Kaufmann says they’re not going to “promise the world” but the group of lawmakers do want to find a way to help reduce the double-digit premium increases Iowa businesses are seeing. “In some degree, the devil is in the details, but we’re willing to take on the devil,” Kaufmann says.

The group is trying to devise a plan that would let small businesses join a statewide “pool” that would include a vast number of workers and would in theory get a better insurance rates than those that are offered to businesses that employ just a few people.

In addition, the lawmakers are exploring the idea of having the state move to insure the most ill and frail Iowans in a catastrophic group as a means of taking the most-expensive-to-insure people out of the general group.