Families across the nation lost the health plans they liked and could afford under the president’s health care law last year, and now small business employees are bracing for the next wave of cancellation notices and disruptions that could put as many as 50 million workers and their families at risk. That’s why House Republicans are taking action this week on the Employee Health Care Protection Act (H.R. 3522), legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) that would allow workers to keep their health plans and preserve access to affordable options put off limits by ObamaCare. “The president and Senate Democrats told Americans that ‘if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.’ That promise should be honored,” says Rep. Cassidy.
“Several thousand of the nation’s smallest business owners….were kicked off their small-business plans by carriers earlier this year,” the Wall Street Journal reports, leaving many “struggling with higher premiums, less robust benefits or uncertainty within a new, unfamiliar network.” Come October, matters will only get worse.
In addition to the looming cancellation notices, a report issued by the Office of the Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), at the request of Speaker Boehner, found that two-thirds of small business employees – a total of 11 million Americans – will see their rates go up under the law. One of those small businesses, E-Technologies Group of West Chester, Ohio, recently explained the challenges it’s facing in a post by Stuart Herman, the company’s Legal Counsel/HR Director, on Congressman Boehner’s blog:
“E-Technologies Group is a small-to-midsize business that has had average renewals over the last few years that we have seen creeping progressively higher after insurers started building in a cushion to cover the expense of implementing the initial stages of ObamaCare. This year our renewal came back at a 40 percent increase. As a company, we decided to do what we could to keep employee increases minimal. We had to gut the plan. Deductibles doubled or tripled. Co-pays went up. Plan value plummeted.”
At the same time that rates are skyrocketing, the law is also taking a big bite out of workers’ paychecks. A newly-released report by the American Action Forum shows ObamaCare “regulations are reducing small business (20 to 99 workers) pay by at least $22.6 billion annually. In addition, ACA regulations and rising premiums have reduced employment by more than 350,000 jobs nationwide, with five states losing more than 20,000 jobs.” “And those wage and job-level effects have come before the implementation of Obamacare’s employer mandate,” CNBC reports, “because of the employer mandate coming down the road, ‘we expect the trends to worsen,’” adds Sam Batkins, author of the report.
President Obama sold his health care law on a lot of broken promises, and now small business owners and employees are paying for it. “The American people recognize that ObamaCare is hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to hire,” Speaker Boehner said earlier this year. “That’s why Republicans remain committed to repealing the law and replacing it with solutions that will lower health care costs and protect American jobs.”
Read more about the Employee Health Care Protection Act here.