CBO Estimate Shows Senate Health Bill Would Devastate Small Businesses
Statement from Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer in response to today’s Congressional Budget Office estimate on the impact of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would cost an estimated 22 million Americans their health insurance coverage.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today released a report on the potential consequences of the U.S. Senate’s replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Although Senate Republicans seem set on passing this bill regardless of the harm it might cause, the CBO estimate indicates that the BCRA would decimate small businesses by destabilizing the health insurance market, causing premiums to skyrocket and leaving millions of entrepreneurs and small business employees unable to afford coverage.
According to the CBO estimate, the BCRA would result in 15 million Americans losing health coverage in 2018, and a total of 22 million losing coverage by 2026. What’s more, the BCRA would greatly destabilize the markets and individual premiums for non-group plans would increase by a whopping 20 percent on average next year.
Since the BCRA allows states to opt out of many ACA requirements, the bill could result in people who are sick being unable to afford the coverage they need. The CBO notes that the BCRA could hurt those with pre-existing conditions because they would only be able to purchase slimmed-down plans with high out-of-pocket costs. This means solo entrepreneurs who get sick could get hit with huge bills, and might lose their businesses.
The ACA absolutely could be improved, but replacing it with the Senate’s replacement plan would hinder entrepreneurial activity and stunt job growth. As the CBO report shows, this legislation will make health insurance less attainable and affordable for many entrepreneurs and their employees. It also puts an end to the expansion of Medicaid, which currently covers millions of small business workers.
Rather than a cure for what ails small businesses, it could not be clearer that the healthcare plans offered by Congress this year would be nothing but bitter pills. America’s job creators already have enough challenges without lawmakers making it harder for them to access health insurance for their employees and themselves. The CBO’s estimate is further evidence that the Senate should scrap its current healthcare framework and take up a new plan that would strengthen the ACA and bring down costs for small businesses.
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