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"Actually, we got less..."

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Washington, February 7, 2017 | comments

Improving the Health Care Marketplace for Small Businesses

House GOP’s “Better Way” Health Care Plan Discussed at SBC Hearing


WASHINGTON
– Small business owners and experts told Members of the House Small Business Committee today that Obamacare has made the health insurance marketplace worse for the owners and employees of America’s 28 million small businesses.  In the Committee’s first hearing of the 115th Congress, witnesses explained how replacement proposals crafted by House Republicans could improve access to quality, affordable health care for these small businesses.

“Doing nothing is not an option because the current system is in a death spiral,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Chabot (R-Ohio). “It is important to remember that the damage done by Obamacare was not limited to the new problems it created for the health care marketplace. It also exacerbated and made worse long-standing problems in that marketplace.”

“We must move forward to eliminate the destructive policies of the past and enact real, patient-centered reforms that lower costs, improve portability, and ensure coverage for the millions of Americans who are struggling to find affordable and reliable health insurance,” Chairman Chabot added.

“While we have a badly damaged system right now, I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have a real opportunity to enact positive change, and we’re going to do it the right way, a better way,” said Chabot.

Small Businesses Make The Case for Repeal and Replace

“Fewer and fewer small businesses, especially those with fewer than 50 employees, offer health insurance as an employee benefit. This is not because they do not want to, or cannot find an insurance carrier in their market; it is because they simply cannot afford to offer a plan, testified Mr. Tom Secor, the president of Durable Corporation, a small business based in Norwalk, Ohio, who appeared on behalf of the National Small Business Association.

When Committee Democrats pressed him by insisting that his business had more health insurance options under the ACA, Mr. Secor countered: Actually, we got less.  We had one carrier that was willing to offer insurance, that’s what our insurance agent told us. I’m in a rural section of Ohio and I think that’s part of the difficulty. In the state of Ohio, we have 88 counties. We have what I’ll call three major cities – Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati… but most of Ohio is rural so we don’t the kind of coverage. If you’re in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, you have options. We do not.”

It is important to understand that our members view their health insurance purchase as a business decision and unfortunately the self-employed and micro-business owners currently do not receive the same tax incentive as other businesses," testified Mr. Keith Hall, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for the Self Employed.Therefore, the self-employed business owner is caught in the middle because they don’t typically qualify for subsidies, while also not receiving the same favorable tax treatment as other businesses.”

“Today we are focused on solutions and we certainly appreciate the opportunity to provide our commentary on the current climate and how legislative action could both stabilize and foster a robust health care system that is rooted in three principles: quality, accessibility, and affordability,”
Hall noted.  

Speaking about a popular provision of the ACA which deals with coverage for pre-existing conditions, Hall added, “we support the language included in Speaker Ryan’s, “A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America,” which is one of many proposals that continues to prohibit a pre-existing conditions exclusion.

Obamacare’s Dire Consequences for Small Businesses

“These consequences led to a significant 25 percent reduction in the offer rate for small businesses between 2010 and 2015," explained Mr. Kevin Kuhlman, Director of Government Relations for the National Federation of Independent Business. “For the first time, fewer than 30 percent of businesses with under 50 employees offered health insurance to their employees in 2015. Small business was clearly an afterthought during ACA consideration and implementation.” 

“As Congress considers a partial repeal of the ACA through reconciliation and a repair of the health insurance markets, please prioritize affordability, flexibility, and predictability for small businesses. Health reform that works for small business will work for the rest of the country," Kuhlman added.

I think there are a lot of plans out there. I’ve read the Better Way plan and there are many things in there, we agree with,” Kuhlman told lawmakers.

BACKGROUND

The House Small Business Committee has heard testimony from numerous small business employees and owners over the years about how Obamacare has cost jobs and opportunities in communities across the United States. See their stories HERE.

House Republicans crafted several, solutions-oriented policy plans last year including "A Better Way to Fix Health Care" and "A Better Way to Grow our Economy."

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Tags: Health