Today Congressman James Clyburn held a listening session in Columbia on the Affordable Care Act. He expects that when members of Congress return to Washington on February 27th, things will get more serious about “repeal and replace”.
Below were my comments today at this session:
Small businesses want everyone with some form of health insurance.
-It helps employees to be healthier and thus more productive.
-It minimizes upward pressure on premiums by reducing the uncompensated care costs of the uninsured…costs that are passed on to those with insurance policies.
Clearly the proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act we are hearing from the House will lead to more uninsured and thus higher premiums.
So how can the Affordable Care Act be changed to actually benefit small businesses:
-expand premium assistance to individuals in higher income brackets to make it more affordable for these workers and small business owners who don’t offer group health insurance.
-expand the number of small businesses that can qualify for tax credits and raise the credits for those businesses. Currently only businesses with fewer than 25 employees can qualify. However, most of the benefit goes to businesses with under 10 workers with average pay of less than $25,000.
-keep the individual mandate and eliminate the employer mandate.
-give state’s 100% of the cost for Medicaid.
-Control drug prices and increase health insurance company competition.
There might be an even better path for small businesses than these changes. Small businesses and many big businesses would love to be out of the health insurance business.
So maybe we should totally repeal the Affordable Care Act and go to a single payer, “Medicare For All” system.