The new health reform law is helping small businesses right now and promises to do more by leveling the playing field for the small businesses who provide quality health coverage to their employees, according to a small business owner who testified before a House health subcommittee today.
"Small businesses across Washington State and across the country can't afford to go back to the broken health care marketplace we faced before reform. We need to keep moving forward," said Jody Hall, the owner of Cupcake Royale and Verité Coffee in Seattle. "By taking full advantage of the opportunities created by the Affordable Care Act, we can break down the barriers to lower health care costs and finally level the playing field for small businesses."
Hall testified that as the result of provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of her premiums on health care, increases in her company's insurance rates were much lower than expected this year.
Looking forward, Hall said that she is most excited about the state-based health insurance exchanges.
"Joining a pool with hundreds of thousands of participants will be a huge improvement in risk-pooling, efficiencies of scale, and negotiating clout for my business and for small businesses across the state. We'll finally be able to tap into the kind of bargaining power that big companies like Starbucks and Microsoft enjoy," said Hall.
Small businesses and individuals face significant hurdles when shopping for affordable and quality health coverage since they have little ability to negotiate and bargain with insurance companies like large businesses can do. The state-based health insurance exchanges will change this by providing small businesses and individuals without insurance a marketplace where they can use market forces to shop for a private health insurance plan on a level playing field.
"The Affordable Care Act creates more choices and attractive options for employers and individuals to find the health care that best suits their families", said Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), the senior Democratic member of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee. "I think we should build on this law to fix its deficiencies and build on its successes to put our country in a better place."