Small Businesses Provide Good Value. We Deserve Nothing Less from Our Insurers.

Brianne Harrington, owner of The Painted Pot in Helena and a leader with the Montana Small Business Alliance, had an op-ed printed in the Helena Independent-Record making the case for implementing the new value for premiums (medical loss ratio) requirement.

Brianne wrote:

We won’t fix our broken health care system if we allow insurers to cook the books and go on doing business as usual. We need our health insurance companies to approach the premium value requirement as an opportunity to find ways to increase value and cost savings for their members, instead of trying to circumvent it.

Small business owners focus our best energies on providing good value to our customers every day. We deserve and expect nothing less from our health insurance companies.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

Sign a Business Letter in Support of Clean Air, Smog Standards

Ground-level ozone - commonly known as "smog" - harms public health and worker productivity. Ozone reduces lung function, inflames airways and aggravates respiratory problems like asthma and lung disease. According to the EPA, strengthening ozone standards will annually prevent or avoid up to 58,000 asthma attacks, 21,000 hospital and ER visits, and 420,000 lost work days.

But efforts to strengthen these standards are under attack by major polluters using an old trick - hiding behind small business. The Main Street Alliance is inviting small business owners to sign a letter to the White House to demonstrate that you support clean air and strong ozone standards to protect community health and productivity.

Please join us in signing on!

Main Street Alliance Responds to Proposed Idaho Healthcare Exchange Legislation

During the last Insurance Exchange Meeting on June 27, 2011, draft legislation for an Idaho Health Insurance Exchange was presented for stakeholder input and comment. The Idaho Main Street Alliance has the following concerns with the draft legislation and its compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.   Click here to read more.

Idaho Main Street Alliance member Dave Silva: “Say no to insurance representatives on the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Governing Board.”

Idaho Main Street Alliance member Dave Silva, owner of Automated Office Solutions in Boise had a letter to the editor  published in the Idaho Statesman on July 18, 2011. 

Click here to read the Letter to the Editor.

Small Businesses Send Letter to Washington on Jobs and Revenue

Idaho Main Street Alliance members delivered a letter to Idaho Congressmen Labrador and Simpson urging them to focus on job creation and revenue building amidst the federal debt ceiling talks.

Click here here to download a PDF copy of the Letter.

Click here to read the FOX 12 News story.

Small Businesses Support Strong Consumer Bureau

New Jersey Main Street Alliance leader Jacquie Germany, owner of Nina's Nuances Interior Design in Montclair, NJ, had a commentary published in the Washington Post on July 10 in support of financial reform and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Jacquie writes:

Small businesses have been devastated by the economic consequences of Wall Street recklessness and abusive lending, with the recession leading to small-business bankruptcies nearly doubling between March 2008 and March 2009.

And small businesses are especially hurt when dollars that our customers and prospective customers could be spending on the goods and services we offer are instead sucked away by bad mortgages, or deceptive credit cards or outrageous overdraft fees.

Click here to read the full commentary.

June 30: NAIC Task Force Vote Bad for Small Business

If upheld by full NAIC, recommendation would gut MLR requirement, hand almost $1 billion in small business and individual rebates back to insurers

Washington, DC – Today, a work group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) voted to recommend NAIC endorsement of a legislative proposal that would undermine the Affordable Care Act’s minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirement by removing agent and broker commissions and fees from the calculation of administrative costs. The Main Street Alliance released the following statement in response:

Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite Associates, Inc and a member of the Main Street Alliance Steering Committee:

"Today’s task force vote was a very good vote for big insurance and a very bad vote for small businesses. The task force voted to take almost $1 billion in annual rebates to small businesses and individuals and just hand that money right back to the health insurance companies, no questions asked. That’s a real poke in the eye to Main Street.

"The value for premiums requirement is one of the key benefits of the new health law for small businesses. It should be implemented as written, not undermined to bail out the health insurance companies from having to fix their broken business model. If the full NAIC takes into account what small businesses need, they’ll vote to overturn this misguided recommendation and support the value for premiums requirement as written."

The Main Street Alliance submitted a letter on June 28 to the task force outlining the importance of the MLR requirement for small businesses and urging the task force to recommend no change to the requirement. Download a copy of the letter here.


Small Businesses Demand Value for Premiums

One of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 was something called a minimum Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) requirement. This requirement establishes a basic level of value for premiums. Insurers either meet that standard or, if they fail to, owe rebates to their customers.

If this requirement had been in effect in 2010, health insurance customers would have received rebates of almost $2 billion from insurers who failed to meet the value for premiums standard. That’s some serious money back in the pockets of small business owners who've paid too much for health care – and a serious incentive for insurers to hold premiums down and increase value in the future.

Predictably, these new requirements have come under attack by industry groups that want to roll them back and allow insurers to continue doing "business as usual." The latest attack is an attempt to remove agent and broker commissions and fees from the value for premiums calculation.

What would that mean for small businesses? This change would wipe out $1.2 billion – more than half – of the potential rebates in the 2010 estimates. And, it would undermine the incentive for insurers to hold premiums down going forward.

The Main Street Alliance submitted a letter to a task force of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on June 28 outlining the small business case for protecting the value for premiums requirement and implementing the new minimum medical loss ratio standards without changes.

Read MSA’s letter here

June 27: Small Businesses Respond to High Court's Divided Ruling Monday on Public Financing Laws

MSA leaders say decision striking trigger provisions allows corporate players to buy political influence uncontested, at expense of small businesses

Download PDF of this release

WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in McComish v. Bennett, a case testing some state public financing laws. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled narrowly that trigger-based matching funds provisions of some states' public financing laws are unconstitutional, while leaving the foundation of public financing systems intact.

The Main Street Alliance released the following statements from national spokespeople in response:

Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, OR and MSA steering committee member:

This decision is bad for small businesses. We don't have the kind of money it takes to buy influence through heavy election spending the way big corporate players can. The Court's decision basically says to big corporations and their trade groups, 'Go ahead, spend all you want to buy elections, and if anyone tries to limit the corrupting influence of your activities, we'll run interference for you.

The silver lining is that the decision leaves the basic structure of public financing systems intact, reaffirming that small dollar public financing laws are a legitimate way to combat corruption and promote free speech. Establishing small dollar fair elections laws is a critical way to take corporate corruption out of elections and restore integrity to our political system.

David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Northbrook, IL and MSA executive committee member:

This decision goes against the very idea of America as the 'land of opportunity.' It means big spenders, many of which are big businesses, will be able spend massive sums of money to flood election debates and drown out the interests of small businesses like mine. It means corporate heavy hitters will continue to be able to buy influence by tipping the scales of elections with their campaign spending, then rewrite the laws of the land to favor their narrow special interests at the expense of small businesses - and everyone else.


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