Revised CBO Estimate Shows American Health Care Act Still a Disaster for 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 American Health Care Act, which would take insurance away from an estimated 23 million Americans
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today released a report on the fiscal and practical impacts of an amended version of the replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Although Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives already recklessly passed this bill without knowing many of its potential consequences, the CBO estimate indicates that the AHCA would be a disaster for small businesses because it would destabilize the health insurance market, cause premiums to skyrocket and leave millions of people with pre-existing conditions unable to afford coverage.
According to the CBO report, the AHCA could result in 14 million Americans losing health coverage in 2018, with as many as 23 million losing health insurance coverage by 2026. What’s more, the AHCA 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 amended version of the AHCA allows states to opt out of many ACA requirements, those opt-outs would result in people with pre-existing conditions being priced out of the market for non-group plans. The CBO notes that community-rated premiums would gradually increase, and those who are already sick would not be able to purchase non-group health insurance at affordable premiums — if at all. As a result, many solo entrepreneurs would likely be forced out of the insurance market entirely. This means many small firms would close up shop while others would never get off the ground.
We absolutely believe the ACA can be improved, but replacing it with the AHCA will 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 significantly rolls back Medicaid, which currently covers millions of small business workers.
Small employers did not ask for a healthcare overhaul, and they certainly don’t want to see changes that make insurance less affordable for them and their employees. Instead, America’s small businesses need quality, affordable health coverage so that they can focus on running their businesses. As the CBO’s estimate shows, the U.S. Senate should set aside the AHCA and any attempts to repeal the ACA in favor of policies that will actually help America’s job creators succeed.
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to focus on solving the biggest problems facing small businesses today. Since 2005, we have actively engaged small business owners and policymakers in support of public policy solutions, and have delivered information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth and drive a strong economy. We regularly engage our network of 55,000 small business owners along with a formal strategic partnership program of more than 150 business organizations, enabling us to reach more than 500,000 entrepreneurs. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers, including access to capital, taxes, healthcare, retirement, entrepreneurship and workforce development. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.