As my friend Sue Berkowitz, Director of the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, said in an email, “What took them so long?”
Sue was reacting to the news yesterday that the House Republicans will begin a floor debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act (the ACA is healthcare reform for those still looking for a more catchy title) this Friday with a final vote set for January 12th.
But while Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor feed their base with a doomed repeal effort, the Small Business Majority released an eye-opening survey today of small business owners. The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax credits and insurance exchanges for small businesses will do exactly what was intended—encourage small businesses to offer employer-based health insurance because it will be more affordable.
Key findings of the survey:
• One-third (33%) of employers who don’t offer health insurance said they would be more likely to do so because of the small business tax credits.
• 31% of respondents—including 40% of businesses with 3-9 employees—who currently offer insurance said the tax credits will make them more likely to continue providing insurance.
• One-third (33%) of respondents who currently do not offer insurance said the exchange would make them more likely to do so.
• The same is true for those who already offer insurance, with 31% responding that the exchange would make them more likely to do so.
And just for the record, 41% of the small business owners randomly surveyed identified themselves as Republicans with 27% and 21% saying that they were independents and democrats respectively.
This positive impact of the ACA has also shown up in insurance companies reporting increased numbers of small businesses now offering health insurance due to the health insurance tax credits that went into effect this year.
However, the most distressing result of the survey was that “most respondents are not familiar with the exchange or the tax credits; only 31% of respondents are familiar with the exchange and 43% are familiar with the tax credits.”
Had the critics of the ACA put as much effort into educating the public about the benefits of the ACA for small business and the public as they have in demonizing it with misinformation largely for political purposes, we would have far fewer uninsured Americans today. But that is the price the country is paying due to the partisanship of politicians.