Small businesses brace for instability as Congress moves to repeal ACA and gut other health programs.
In a major setback for small business owners and entrepreneurs, the House voted today(227-198) to move forward with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Repealing the health care law would lead to unaffordable premiums, job loss, and budget cuts that would devastate the economy and harm small business growth.
“Before the Affordable Care Act, annual double-digit insurance premium increases meant instability in our business planning and growth," said Jim Houser, co-owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, OR and Main Street Alliance Executive Committee Member. "The ACA has stabilized our premium costs, raising our confidence enough to fill more full-time positions. Repealing the ACA will turn full control of health insurance pricing and coverage options back over to the largest insurance companies, and create the kind of instability that makes it challenging for businesses like mine to grow."
The House vote comes just a day after a joint report was released by the Treasury and Department of Health and Human Services finding that one in five marketplace enrollees is a small business owner or is self-employed. Small business owners and self-employed individuals are nearly three times more likely to use the ACA Marketplace to purchase insurance.
"As an entrepreneur and small business owner, I rely on the ACA to provide me and my growing family with affordable health insurance options," said Jeff Beck, owner of East Side Mags in Montclair, New Jersey. "The ACA makes it easier for me to sustain and grow my business because it means I have more funding available for inventory, marketing, and other crucial business expenses. By repealing the law without a providing a replacement plan Congress is pulling the plug on health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, including myself and my family. And it makes it more challenging for entrepreneurs like myself to start or grow a business."
Without the ACA, small businesses will be vulnerable to price gouging by health insurers, and will no longer have access to the bargaining power, risk pooling, or economies of scale that the ACA created. Costs would increase immediately for every small business that qualifies for the health premium tax credits. The higher cost of coverage for small business owners would mean less money to hire workers, making it harder for employers to add jobs–contributing to an estimated loss of 2.6 million jobs, mostly in the private sector.
Repealing the health care system is a misguided effort that will squash entrepreneurship, stall job growth and have a ripple effect throughout the economy.