The American health-care system needs genuine reform. Unfortunately, its biggest problems and inefficiencies -- such as the rising cost of health care -- were not addressed, and were even exacerbated by President Obama's health plan.
Although I remain firmly committed to full repeal of the deeply-flawed and damaging ObamaCare, the reality is that President Obama will never allow that to happen as long as he's in office. That is why I have recently introduced the Small Business Health Relief Act, which will repeal some of the onerous and damaging mandates in ObamaCare until the Supreme Court invalidates the law, or Congress and a willing president allow us to repeal it.
One such provision imposes a new fee on health insurers to help pay for ObamaCare. The Small Business Health Relief Act would lower health insurance premiums for all Americans by eliminating that pass-through fee. The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation confirms: "We expect a very large portion of the insurance industry fee to be passed forward to purchasers of insurance in the form of higher premiums." We need to lower premiums, not cause them to go up. So, my bill repeals this provision. JCT estimates that repeal of the fee will lower premiums for the average family by $350-$400 in 2016 alone.
ObamaCare is also rife with taxes and other expenses on businesses at a time when unemployment continues to hover around nine percent. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has referred to ObamaCare's employer mandate -- a central piece of the law -- as a "job killer," because it "would force struggling employers to spend money they don't have, reduce flexibility and choice, and raise employer costs in an economy that is already shedding jobs." We should avoid any policy that is a "job killer," and, instead, focus on policies to stimulate job creation. This is why I have included repeal of the job-killing employer mandate in the Small Business Health Relief Act.
ObamaCare hurts job creation in other ways. For example, it also dictates how much coverage small businesses must provide and individuals must purchase. But many small businesses and people operating and living in the real world simply cannot afford to shoulder the cost for the generous levels of coverage that Washington deems necessary. The Small Business Health Relief Act has a set of other provisions that will lighten the burden of health-related costs on small business.
Finally, the bill ensures that high deductible plans coupled with health savings accounts (HSAs) continue to play a prominent role in the coverage options available to individuals and small businesses. A recent article by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels stated that Indiana was able to save $20 million in 2010 alone because of the state offered an HSA option to its employees. The more than 70 percent of state workers who chose the HSA option ran up only $65 in cost for every $100 incurred by their colleagues under the old coverage. If Indiana has such great success with this consumer-directed coverage option, then small businesses and individuals can too -- and Congress should not get in the way.
My goal is to provide some breathing room to small businesses and American families while we wait for our chance to fully repeal the deeply-flawed ObamaCare. I believe the Small Business Relief Act takes an important step towards the goal of full repeal.