New Senate Healthcare Bill Features More of the Same Old Problems for Small Businesses
Statement from Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer on why the U.S. Senate’s revised proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act is still bad for small businesses.
The U.S. Senate today released its proposed revisions to the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), legislation offered last month to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new version of the bill would be even worse than the original for small businesses because it includes a proposal from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that is estimated to strip insurance coverage from 1.5 million people with pre-existing conditions. This would make it even harder for those who have health conditions to start new businesses, while entrepreneurs with pre-existing conditions who are already up and running may close up shop because they will no longer be able to afford insurance for themselves.
Since Cruz’s amendment would allow insurers to sell health plans that do not comply with ACA requirements, the BCRA would create parallel insurance markets for the sick and for the healthy. This would lead to unbalanced risk pools, driving up the costs for small business owners with older or sicker workers. Businesses with younger or healthier workers might see their costs decrease, but the plans they offer would provide less coverage, putting entrepreneurs and employees in a difficult position if an unexpected medical situation arises.
Sadly, the Cruz amendment makes an already bad bill even worse. The first version of the BCRA is expected to kick 22 million people off insurance by 2026 while stifling entrepreneurial activity and stunting job growth, costing the U.S. economy an estimated one million jobs. It would also phase out the expansion of Medicaid, which covers millions of workers employed by small firms.
None of the healthcare proposals offered by House or Senate Republicans thus far will help small businesses. In fact, Small Business Majority’s scientific opinion polling found small employers prefer the ACA to the House’s ACA replacement plan by a 2:1 margin.
Instead of continuing to tinker with a plan that cannot be fixed with minor adjustments, lawmakers should focus on improving the ACA because it is already working for America’s job creators. Small employers don’t want to repeal and replace the ACA—they want to improve the healthcare law so they can focus on running their businesses, rather than wondering if Congress is going to take away their healthcare. The Senate must reject the BCRA and come up with ideas that will actually improve the lives of small business owners and their employees.
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse economy. We actively engage our network of more than 55,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.