Small businesses deserve healthcare that’s affordable, flexible, and predictable. Congress has taken a first step.
Health reform is in the spotlight this week with the introduction of the American Health Care Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congress is expected to vote on the bill next week, and it stands to have a big impact on small businesses.
The bill eliminates the most punishing elements of Obamacare, including the taxes and mandates that have increased costs, limited choices, and smothered job creation. Though the bill does not address all the reforms that must occur, the American Health Care Act is a necessary step to providing important healthcare relief for small business.
NFIB supports the act and is calling on Congress to pass it. We sent a letter to Congress on Monday, March 13, advising each representative that NFIB considers the upcoming action a Key Vote for the purposes of our How Congress Voted scorecard.
Small business has long supported repealing and replacing Obamacare. NFIB opposed the ACA when it passed and challenged the law’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court in NFIB v. Sebelius. The focus of the case was the individual mandate, which the American Health Care Act would essentially nullify.
The employer mandate also posed a big problem for small business owners. Employers, keenly aware of the 50-employee threshold for mandated insurance coverage, have been forced to curb hiring and/or to convert full-time employees into part-time employees. That’s a bad scenario for employers and employees alike. The American Health Care Act effectively nullifies this issue by doing away with the enforcement of and penalties for the employer mandate. Future legislation to officially repeal this and the individual mandate is expected.
The high cost of healthcare has been a top concern for business owners for the past 30 years, according to NFIB research. But the new administration’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is cause for optimism among small business owners. NFIB’s monthly Small Business Optimism Index has soared to pre-recession levels in recent months, as hope for reform on healthcare, taxes, and regulations becomes a reality. To translate this optimism into economic growth and job creation, Congress must end the stifling taxes and mandates of Obamacare.
Small businesses deserve health insurance that is affordable, flexible, and predictable. And while there is much more work to be done, the American Health Care Act is the first step toward accomplishing that goal.