Now for Some Good News: Bipartisan Momentum Builds on Solution to Address High Health Coverage Costs for Small Business

By at 7 March, 2019, 11:31 am



Washington, D.C. –  While some elected officials in the nation’s capital see it as their job to fuel partisanship or score political points, bipartisan momentum is building on Capitol Hill to address a major pain point for small businesses and the self-employed – crushing health coverage costs.  Bipartisan bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House that would provide relief for small businesses from the unfair and costly health insurance tax (HIT), a $50 million per-day tax that directly targets the plans of small businesses and individual entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurs and small businesses are pleased to see that one of their top concerns is being addressed on a bipartisan basis. Responsive leaders in both the House and Senate are taking action, and now every Member of Congress needs to get behind S. 172  and H.R. 1398. Action on these bills needs to occur right away in order to provide small businesses with meaningful cost relief in 2020 and 2021. This relief will allow small businesses to adequately budget and plan, and avoid a ‘cost shock’ in the coming months regarding premium costs for next year. In addition, lower costs would allow more small businesses to afford and offer health coverage, which means they can more effectively compete for employees in this very tight labor market,” said SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

The bills S. 172 and H.R. 1398, the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019 would extend the current moratorium on the HIT into 2020 and 2021. Small businesses could save on average $196 per individual and $479 per family, which is significant savings for small businesses, especially for those with many employees.  S. 172 is being led by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) (see the full co-sponsor list here), and in the House by U.S. Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA), Jacki Walorski (R-IN), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Kenny Marchant (R-TX) (see full co-sponsor list here).

A group of freshman Senators recently sent a letter to Senate leaders in both parties urging “quick action” on the HIT. The February 28 letter, signed by Senators Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), noted:

“As the newest members of the U.S. Senate, we write to urge quick action to address the return of the health insurance tax (HIT). Rising health care costs remain a primary concern for American families and small businesses – a message we hear frequently back home. Delaying the HIT for 2020 and beyond would be one way to be immediately responsive to our constituents’ concerns and demonstrate our bipartisan commitment to lower health care costs for millions of Americans across the country.”

Kerrigan applauded these new Senate members for their leadership, and is urging congressional leaders on both sides of the U.S. Capitol and aisle to move quickly, as the American people expect their elected officials to provide solutions to key challenges facing the nation. She also urged President Trump to weigh in on the issue, as the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act is not only a meaningful piece of legislation that will help small businesses, it is “low-hanging legislative fruit” that will make good on his call for bipartisanship in 2019.

“Extending the moratorium on the health insurance tax is an ideal solution that President Trump and congressional leaders in the House and Senate can work on together. Addressing this top cost concern for small businesses and entrepreneurs would fuel confidence and optimism, and provide certainty for these job creators.  We are now into the third month of 2019, and there is little to show in terms of legislative achievements that help Main Street and half of the nation’s workforce. Fixing the HIT is a great place to start,” said Kerrigan.

Related Content:

Small Business Insider: Health Costs #1 Concern of Small Business Owners – HIT Tax Relief an at Hand Practical Solution  

CONTACT: Karen Kerrigan,

SBE Council is a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy, research and education organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For 25 years, SBE Council has worked on a wide range of policy and private sector initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for startup activity and small business growth. Visit or @SBECouncil.



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