PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Suffocating Health Insurance Costs MUST Be Fixed (Now!)

By at 7 June, 2017, 9:46 am

 

By Karen Kerrigan-

America’s small businesses have gotten hammered by Obamacare’s year-over-year premium increases. Unfortunately, they are gearing up for another round of higher costs in 2018. Many of these entrepreneurs who risked everything to pursue the dream of opening a business see Obamacare as one of their biggest impediments to growth. That’s not good for our economy, job creation and investment. And it is why the U.S. Senate must make passing a reform bill its top priority.

Here is just a sampling of the latest headlines entrepreneurs and small business people wake up to each day:

New Hampshire Union Leader: NH insurer seeks 30% rate hike (falling on 20,000 New Hampshire residents)

Cincinnati Enquirer: Major insurer Anthem to withdraw from Ohio health care exchange (this will leave 20 counties with no insurance options, and 27 counties with only one insurer).

Omaha World Herald100,000 Nebraskans could be left with no options if last insurer pulls out of Affordable Care Act market

The Implosion of Obamacare and Small Business

All across the country, Obamacare’s implosion is worrying small business owners and their employees. High costs, less access to care, no choice in coverage, and losing the health care plan they enjoyed for many years is causing anxiety and uncertainty. Until the burden of Obamacare is lifted from small businesses and self-employed people across America, our economy will continue to hobble along.

As I noted in response to May’s modest jobs gains: “Outrageous health coverage costs are weighing down small businesses, and the stall out on Capitol Hill regarding Obamacare reform is not a positive signal for small businesses…small business owners will feel less confident with each passing day that progress is not made on two of their most pressing issues – crushing health care costs and a burdensome and unfair tax system.”

Women entrepreneurs meet at the White House with Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Tom Price to discuss the impact of Obamacare:  “The point should have been bringing down the cost of healthcare as a whole, and instead it just passes on the cost of healthcare to small businesses who can’t afford it.” – Gina Martin, Founder & VP of Little Rock Tours

It’s no surprise that, even with the rise of confidence among entrepreneurs in 2017, economic uncertainty and the cost of health care rank as the top concerns of small business owners. There is no doubt that if health insurance plans were more affordable and small businesses were not faced with painful cost increases in the future, uncertainty would begin to fade.

Consider what two women business owners had to say during their visit to the White House with Vice President Mike Pence on June 5:

“We had to make a conscious decision not to grow because of Obamacare,” Sandra Dozier Hill, Founder of Hill & Associate CPAs told the group. Her firm is down to four workers because it was too costly for them to replace an employee that retired.

“Healthcare is the anchor that keeps dragging us down,” added NeeCee Lee, Payroll Manager and Co-Owner of Lee and Cates Glass and Flat Glass Distributors. Her firm lost several trained technicians to competitors because of healthcare options.

The stories of these two women business owners represent the stories of entrepreneurs and small business owners across America. Unless and until Obamacare is fixed for small businesses, and its crushing costs and taxes removed, our nation’s job creators will not reach their full potential. This means lower wage growth for their employees, less growth for their businesses, fewer jobs being created, and a U.S. economy that just continues to hobble along.

The House passed the American Health Care Act on May 4, and now the Senate must take action to reform the Obamacare mess. SBE Council members and advocates are encouraged to call their U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to make Obamacare reform a priority – let them know that doing nothing is not acceptable, or an option, for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs!

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

 

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