Small business owners from across the country came to Washington, DC this week to demand their Congressional representatives vote no on the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Nine Main Street Alliance leaders met with Senators, Representatives, and congressional staffers throughout the day on March 23rd, the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Their main message was simple: the AHCA would be a significant step back for small businesses, who need the affordable, quality health coverage they gained under the ACA in order to thrive.
“Businesses need safety, transparency, and predictability in order to thrive,” said David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Northbrook, Illinois. “Before the ACA, our premiums rose unpredictably and by double digits from year to year. Since the passage of the ACA, our average annual increases are a fraction of what they were before, averaging 4.6% for the past seven years. I am saving money on premiums and can plow those savings back into business investment and job creation.”
Under Trumpcare, small businesses would go back to a time of volatile premium increases and skyrocketing costs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, individual premiums would spike 20% in the first year after repeal, and the average cost would increase by $4,816/enrollee by 2026.
This would once again make it difficult, if not impossible, for small businesses to afford health insurance. More than 4 million business owners, employees, and self-employed entrepreneurs gained coverage under the ACA, bringing the rate of uninsured to a historic low of 19.6%. Moreover, currently 6 million people who work in small businesses are enrolled in Medicaid under the ACA. Contrary to opponents’ rhetoric that it kills jobs and burdens small businesses, the ACA has fostered business growth and development, with 1 in 5 business owners participating in the Marketplace.
Tim Foster, owner of Patriotic Motors in Spokane, Washington, met with Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference. He attributes his ability to run his own business to the care he receives because of Medicaid.
“As someone who suffers from chronic pain, I’m only able to work because I can get treatment for my illness through Medicaid.” said Tim. “If this coverage were taken from me, I definitely wouldn’t be able to work or have my own business, and I would probably be on disability.”
The Main Street Alliance small business owners who convened on Capitol Hill came from Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington state, and West Virginia.