Health Coverage Savings on the Way? Deregulating Health Insurance Markets Will Save Consumers $450 Billion, According to CEA  

By at 22 February, 2019, 11:42 am


by Karen Kerrigan-

The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a new study, which reported that various regulatory reform initiatives being pursued and implemented by the Trump Administration will save Americans $450 billion over the next ten years.  While there are more regulatory changes to come (like reforms to health reimbursement accounts, for example), three efforts alone – repealing the individual mandate, establishing Association Health Plans, and strengthening short-term insurance plans – are responsible for these savings.

SBE Council supported these efforts, and we continue to push for legislative action to immediately lower health coverage costs. Cost relief from the above reforms will take some time to reach small businesses and the self-employed. However, immediate cost relief can be achieved, for example, by fixing the health insurance tax (HIT). This unfair sales tax, enacted as part of Obamacare, directly strikes the self-employed, small businesses and their employees.

Bipartisan Support for HIT Relief

Congress passed a one-year moratorium on the HIT tax for 2019.  But savings will be short-lived with the return of the tax in 2020, and small business owners and entrepreneurs purchasing or renewing coverage in the individual and small group market will soon see these increases in mid-2019.

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced to fully repeal the HIT (S.80), and to extend the current moratorium for two additional years (S. 172). SBE Council supports both bills.

Again, Congressional action must occur right away in order to meaningfully address health coverage costs for small businesses in 2020.

I recently discussed the issue on Fox Business as an important way to strengthen and fuel small business optimism in 2019. Watch the segment here, or by clicking on the image below:

Currently, there are 11 bipartisan co-sponsors of S. 172, including:

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL)

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Senator Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH)

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

Call Your U.S. Senators Today!

The HIT is a $55 million per-day sales tax on the health insurance plans of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the individual and small group market. It unfairly targets the health plans of small business owners and their employees, who already face disproportionately higher costs. These high costs threaten the ability of small businesses to continue health coverage or to provide it altogether, which impacts their ability to compete for workers in the tight labor market (a top challenge for most small firms).

Reducing health insurance costs by fixing the HIT would provide immediate savings to small businesses. Health coverage costs will go up, on average, by 2.2 percent in 2020 if the moratorium on the HIT is not enacted.

Please urge your U.S. Senators to co-sponsor S. 172! Call their offices right away at the Capitol Switchboard – 202-224-3121 – and urge them to co-sponsor S. 172.

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

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