House voting to keep their healthcare perks

House voting to keep their healthcare perks

The U.S. House is scheduled to take their 31stvote on changing, delaying, defunding or terminating Obamacare today.  The outcome of today’s repeal vote isn’t in questions because every other vote taken on the issue has passed almost exclusively along party lines.

Obamacare opponents in the House will again claim that the healthcare reform is hurting small businesses.  And by now you should know that this is a crock. 

Small businesses defined as less than 50 employees have no mandate to offer health insurance.  Not now.  Not later.  That 50 or under workers criteria means that 97% of all businesses in this country have not been nor will be negatively impacted by Obamacare.  Of the remaining businesses, only 3 % do not offer insurance and will have to make decisions about shared responsibility for the healthcare of their employees.

But while there has been no downside for small businesses, there has been plenty of upside.  The Small Business Majority sent a letter to Congress this week agrueing against repeal.  “Since the enactment of federal healthcare reform, America’s 28 million small businesses have already benefited greatly from provisions such as tax credits, rate review and Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)”, read the letter.  The MLR alone is yielding $1.1 billion in premium rebates to small businesses across the nation.

Then there are the future benefits for small businesses starting in 2014 such as the health insurance exchanges.  These online marketplaces for health insurance will not only reduce premiums from less administration costs of small business health plans but also from the expected increase of carrier competition.

Assuming that the opponents of Obamacare know these facts and still put up the charade of voting to repeal for the purpose of protecting small business, then their real motivation must be something else.  Partisan politics certainly is a good possibility.

But there actually is a personal reason members of Congress would like to see Obamacare go away—their own health insurance.

One of the complaints during the construction of the healthcare reform legislation was that if the new process was good for American citizens it ought to be good enough for members of Congress.  So a provision was put into the law to have members of Congress get their health insurance through the new exchanges like everyone else and that when they retire they would no longer receive government-subsidized health insurance. 

Sam Baker of The Hill reports that one Democratic Official has said, “House Republicans are set to repeal the promise that members of Congress have health care just like everyone else and to restart the perk of lifetime government health care for themselves.”

Now that is a big incentive for Congress to kill Obamacare.