Revoking last year’s health care overhaul would prove particularly expensive for small businesses and wipe out millions of jobs, according to a new report.
The report, produced by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), says that small businesses would ultimately pay around $3,000 more annually per employee for health insurance if the 2010 reform is repealed. It also notes that the tax credits for smaller companies would be eliminated immediately, affecting roughly four million businesses. U.S. PIRG predicts that increased employer health care expenses as a result of repealing the law would come at a cost of 4.5 million lost jobs by 2020.
The latter number might be the most contentious: Supporters of the repeal say the existing law will likewise eliminate jobs if it stays on the books. In fact, it’s right there in the proposed bill’s title: “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.”
Congress had been scheduled to vote on the repeal bill on Wednesday, but postponed all business this week after the Arizona shooting that killed six people and critically injured U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Though the bill is eventually expected to pass the House, it will face a much tougher test in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, backed the repeal bill in his State of the American Business address on Tuesday. “Last year, while strongly advocating health care reform, the Chamber was a leader in the fight against this particular bill, and thus we support legislation in the House to repeal it,” he said.
Though the data offered up both sides of the debate deserve some healthy skepticism — politicized statistics tend to be tooled for their particular cause — one number seems quite clear: Regardless of the health care reform or its possible repeal, health insurance costs are still very much on the mind of small business owners. Community site Manta, in its recent Pulse of Small Business Survey, found that 62 percent of owners are concerned about health care, and 21 percent said that “there has been so much written about its impact on small business that I don’t know what to think.” (No offense taken.)
If your business could cast a vote, which way would it go?