We are now being told that the insurance premiums for about 11 million small business employees is on the rise, thanks to Obamacare. House Speaker John Boehner blasted the Obama administration over the report Monday, calling it yet another “broken promise” from Obamacare’s authors.
“The Obama administration has finally been forced to disclose what we’ve long feared: the president’s health care law means higher premiums for millions of American workers,” Boehner said in a statement. “This is another punch in the gut for Americans already struggling in the president’s economy.”
Missouri Republican Rep. Sam Graves, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, hit back against the Obama administration delaying the damning report — which was supposed to be completed within 90 days of the enactment of the sequester.
“The Obama administration’s long delay of this CMS report is consistent with the rest of the law — behind schedule and bad news for small business,” Graves said.
But Obamacare’s changes to the Public Health Service Act will result in premium hikes for 11 million Americans, but will trigger reductions for only 6 million individuals, CMS estimated in the report. Small employers’ costs will rise with the premium hikes as well. Also, there are several section of the law created with even more restrictions on how premium rates may vary. Insurers may take just four factors into account when determining premium rates in the small group and individual market: individual vs. family enrollment, geographic area, age and tobacco use.
Premium rates used to vary depending on a variety of factors, such as prior claims history, health status and gender — women use significantly more health services than men and have typically been charged higher premiums to account for the higher cost to cover their care — but Obamacare outlawed this as discrimination.
Many small business employees will benefit financially by getting taxpayer-subsidized insurance on the exchanges instead of purchasing their own through their employer. But the threat of more companies cutting coverage could cause more negative pushback for the health care reform law.
With the latest Obamacare delay, even medium-sized businesses between 50 and 99 employees will have until 2016 to comply with the requirement to provide employees coverage, opening the possibility of more companies laying off employees so they can cut out increasingly expensive insurance coverage altogether.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill called the Obama CMS-issued report “the latest instance of House Republicans attempting to peddle half-truths and incomplete data” to fight the Affordable Care Act.
“The report only considers the impact of three provisions in isolation, and, for example, does not consider that many small businesses will quality for tax credits and hundreds of thousands of small businesses have already claimed credits of $1 billion,” Hammill said in a statement.