For Immediate Release:
Contact: Kelly Broadway, 202-808-8853
Medicaid, ACA Should Not Replace Small Business Health Coverage
Strengthening Small Business Will Keep Employees Out of Government Safety Net Programs
Washington, D.C. – The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions in a hearing titled “Reducing Health Care Costs for Working Americans and Their Families.”
In his testimony, CAHC President Joel White focused on three ways Congress can make health coverage more affordable and accessible:
- Expanding health plan options for employers and their employees
- Providing financial incentives to ensure employer coverage remains viable
- Enacting policies to lower the cost of health services and drugs to reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs
White highlighted how recent laws have made it more difficult for employers to offer health benefits to their employees and families – despite strong support from both employers and employees for these benefits. These laws placed mandates on small businesses increasing costs, without any subsidies. White also noted that a small business tax credit, created to help offset the cost of providing health insurance, was so poorly structured that only 0.02 percent of businesses took the incentive. And, without a mandate to provide insurance, many small businesses opted out, forcing employees onto high-cost government-run safety net programs like Obamacare or Medicaid.
“An overwhelming majority of Americans want employer-sponsored health coverage. They do not want to fend for themselves in the individual market and are ill-equipped to do so because they do not have the power to negotiate better prices,” testified Joel White, President, of CAHC. “They also do not want to be forced into an inflexible, one-size fits some government program that rarely changes for the better.”
White urged lawmakers to consider the challenges employers of all sizes are facing when offering health benefits and cautioned them to not exclude government policies, especially those that have failed. The goal for Congress should be to increase choices, while also lowering costs. White offered up solutions, including:
- Giving small businesses the same benefit design options available to large businesses
- Allowing more businesses and the self-employed to form and join Association Health Plans
- Extending telehealth flexibilities to continue allowing employers to offer standalone telehealth benefits
“With the continued rise in health costs, CAHC is very concerned that we’re dangerously close to a two-tier health system. If you work for a company with a large group plan you get generous, high quality, private coverage. But if you’re self-employed, work at a small business, or earn working-class wages, you only have two bad options – a high-deductible Obamacare plan or Medicaid. Workers deserve better access to private coverage; Congress must act,” said White.