John Kline (R-MN-02) as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is interested in studying ways to roll back the so-called “employer mandate,’’ which will require businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health care to their employees or pay a penalty.
Mr. Kline’s has already taken action … voting to eliminate health care tax credits for up to 16,300 small businesses representing 117,000 families … and that’s just in Minnesota’s Second District.
The health reform law provides tax credits to small businesses worth up to 35% of the cost of providing health insurance … and is going to rise to 50% starting in 2014. This will have a huge impact on small businesses across the nation. Families USA, a non profit consumer health care advocate, determined that about 84% of small businesses across the nation would be eligible for the tax credit on 2010 returns. This is over 4 million companies. It’s clear that there will be some type of improvement for small businesses. Repeal would force these small businesses to drop coverage or bear the full costs of coverage themselves.
Mr. Kline should consider the results of a national survey of 619 small business owners from Nov. 17-22, 2010, to gauge how entrepreneurs view two critical components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: healthcare tax credits and insurance exchanges.
The first interesting tidbit is that most respondents are not familiar with the exchange or the tax credits as only 31% of respondents are familiar with the exchange and 43% are familiar with the tax credits … so in other words, the bashing of Healthcare Reform still dominates, so businesses need to be informed.
What the survey did determine though was that the tax credits would increase the participation rate by those employers that currently do not provide insurance while those that do provide are more likely to continue … including 40% of businesses with 3-9 employees. The more citizens being covered means less uncompensated care.
What would happen once these business learn about the tax credits ?
Well, consider those small businesses that do know about the legislation are already taking action. In fact, many insurers saw a dramatic increase in small group plan enrollments in 2010. America’s largest health insurance company, UnitedHealth Group, enrolled 75,000 new small business employees; Coventry Health Care added 115,000 enrollees; and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City attributes its 58 percent increase in small business coverage specifically to the tax credits, noting that 38 percent of the new business came from companies that had not previously offered insurance.
John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority, wrote :
Small businesses don’t need to witness more bickering over health-care reform; they need to know now how provisions in the new law can help boost their bottom lines. Our country’s job creators need all of us to focus on the hard work of implementing the law and getting them relief from ever-rising health-care costs—not more political squabbling, unfounded speculation, and overheated rhetoric.
During the debate to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there was a number of other figures that were bantered about concerning the impact of repeal on citizens in Minnesota’s Second District …
– It would allow insurance companies to deny coverage to more than 126,000 residents who have pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, including over 10,000 children. Repeal would allow insurance companies to refuse to insure these individuals if they seek coverage in the individual or small-group markets.
– Rescinding consumer protections for 578,000 individuals who have health insurance through their employer or the market for private insurance.
– Increasing prescription drug costs for 9,600 seniors who hit the Part D drug “donut hole” and denying new preventive care benefits to 75,000 seniors.
– Eliminating new health care coverage options for 1,500 uninsured young adults.
– Increasing the costs to hospitals of providing uncompensated care by $43 million annually which result in higher premiums and medical care expenses for those that are part of the paying public.
Mr. Kline, your vote has not helped anyone.
The biggest barrier that might keep small businesses from benefiting from this legislation is ignorance as to what it offers.
End the bashing … start promoting the benefits.