From Gregg Thompson and Dan Danner. Thompson is the N.C. director of the National Federation of Independent Business; Danner is the NFIBs CEO:
For many Americans, the presidents health care law is like a bomb that keeps exploding. Three years since its passage and the law that had promised to drive down costs and make health insurance more affordable for working families is proving a failure on all fronts. This is especially true when it comes to small businesses, their workers and the self-employed in North Carolina.
Beginning in 2014, millions of small businesses are set to take yet another hit from the billions in new health insurance taxes included in the health care law. The law calls this a health insurance fee, but lets call a spade a spade: the estimated $100 billion in costs will ultimately fall on Main Street enterprises and the self-employed. And despite all the political rhetoric in Washington about shared sacrifice, the nations largest companies and labor unions are not subject to the tax. This is truly a tax on small business.
Fortunately, policymakers are working to create a small business fix to ensure our nations greatest source of job creation and their employees arent saddled with crippling new taxes that would make offering health insurance benefits too costly to provide for N.C. workers and families. The Jobs and Premium Protection Act, bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany of Louisiana and Jim Matheson of Utah, would establish a needed fix for small enterprises and their workers by repealing the health insurance tax (HIT) before it can be implemented and before the economic and human impacts become real and painful for millions of families.
Recent Gallup polls have shown that the two greatest challenges small businesses face are higher health care costs and increased taxes. The small business HIT combines both of these challenges into a single and unaffordable threat to their operations and the well-being of their employees. Congress would be wise not to have a memory loss on this as we continue to work toward economic recovery.
Repealing the HIT would be a good start.
According to current Congressional Budget Office projections, the HITs costs will almost entirely be passed along to small businesses, their employees and the self-insured. A recent study by the director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, found that, on average, the HIT will cost each family about $5,000 in higher premiums over a decade.
Congress should follow the bipartisan leadership of Reps. Boustany and Matheson. Prior to its passage, warnings about the cost and impact of the health care bill were well known. It was a classic case of the means justifying the end goal. Unfortunately, the end political goal of the law is now set to come at the expense of our local small businesses and the millions of workers they employ, and the quality of health care made available to them and their families.
These small businesses and workers are not asking for special treatment. They simply want the federal government to allow them to do what they do best: employ local workers, grow their businesses and contribute to the economic and social well-being of their respective communities.