PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Not What Entrepreneurs Want for National Small Business Week: House Bill Eliminates an Affordable Health Coverage Option

By at 8 May, 2019, 12:12 pm

Washington, D.C.  – This week, the country is celebrating small businesses and focusing on the policies and initiatives that are needed to support their growth, and the growth of U.S. entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, over in the U.S. House of Representatives, a vote is expected during this National Small Business Week on legislation that would gut an affordable health coverage option for many Americans, including individuals who wish to pursue business ownership or those working for startups and small businesses.

H.R. 1010 is expected to be included in an “Affordable Care Act Protections” package to be voted on by the U.S. House on May 9, which would eliminate the positive changes to short-term, limited duration plans that are filling a big need in the marketplace when individuals experience life altering events such as starting a business, temporarily leaving the workforce to care for a family member or partner, or testing career options through “gig” work.

“High health coverage costs and lack of affordable options remain a top issue for many Americans and small businesses. The House Democrats pushing this bill are either tone deaf to this reality, or so obsessed with salvaging every line of Obamacare that they would take away this revitalized and improved health insurance option for people who need it the most. Taking away affordable health coverage choices and access to health care is a horrible way to mark National Small Business Week,” said Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) president & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

On May 8, Kerrigan joined coalition allies and signed a letter to all members of the U.S. House, urging the preservation of these affordable health coverage options and opposition to H.R. 1010, a bill that would repeal the Department of Labor (DOL) rule that made short-term, limited duration health plans a more practical option for American families, workers and entrepreneurs.  H.R. 1010 would prevent the DOL from taking “any action to implement, enforce, or otherwise give effect to the rule” and stop the federal government from promulgating a similar rule.

As noted in the letter, enactment of H.R. 1010 would mean “that many Americans who cannot afford expensive health coverage as a result of Obamacare would be denied an affordable option when they need transitional coverage and financial flexibility the most.”

The letter also cited a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study that found 500,000 people will go uninsured if the DOL rule is reversed. The CBO also estimates another 500,000 would be forced to purchase non-group coverage at Affordable Care Act prices (read: more expensive health insurance).

The coalition letter noted the dire need for choices in affordable health insurance, including this bridge coverage option:

“Short-term, limited duration plans fill an important need in the marketplace, particularly when individuals and their families need coverage during career and work changes.  Many more people are cycling between full-time jobs and “gig” work, and temporary health insurance plans help fill the coverage gap at a reasonable cost.  Our regulatory system must take into account how people currently work, how they want to work if they have major life changes, or if they want to start a business. Insurance choices, like these transitional health plans, provide Americans with the flexibility they need when there is a break in coverage, have a need for bridge coverage, or to pursue their dream of opening a business.”

Related Content:

Transitional Health Coverage is Critical for New Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses, Small Business Insider blog post, April 30, 2019.

Contact:  Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, kkerrigan@sbecouncil.org

SBE Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy, research and education organization that works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship. For 25 years SBE Council has worked to successfully implement a range of policy and private sector initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for startups and small business growth. To learn more, visit SBE Council’s website: www.sbecouncil.org. Follow on Twitter: @SBECouncil

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