US Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) joined small business owners at the Modesto Chamber of Commerce for a forum hosted by the Stop the HIT Coalition, which represents small business owners, their employees and the self-employed, to discuss the impact and implications of the health insurance tax (HIT), part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that has adversely affected local businesses. Many businesses have taken out various insurances, similar to those here, to protect themselves and it’s employees. Insurance is essential for businesses, not only to ensure their employees are looked after but also so the company is looked after and could still function if anything were to happen to any employees.
In section 9010 of the ACA, it states that each covered entity engaged in the business of providing health insurance must pay a tax beginning after 2013.
The bipartisan HR 3367, the “Small Business and Family Relief Act,” to which Denham is a cosponsor, would amend this portion of the ACA, the imposition of a tax on health insurance providers. The purpose of the bill is to delay the application of the tax until 2016, and to construct a means of returning paid consumer tax from 2014 and 2015.
The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan government economic research entity, report states that the health insurance tax “would be largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums for private coverage.”
It is estimated that nearly 88 percent of self-employed individuals and small businesses who buy coverage in the fully-insured marketplace would be affected by the tax, that, in its unamended state, has the potential to increase the annual cost of such policies by $500.
At the meeting, local for-profit and non-profit business owners raised concerns they have with the ACA and discussed the implications that they have personally faced at their businesses and with their employees as a result.
Denham stated certain areas of agreement with the ACA, like the pre-existing conditions clause and allowing children to stay on their parent’s policies until the age of 26. He also described the variety of unintentional consequence that the ACA has had and stated the public’s need for better access to care and the need for competition among health insurance providers.
“People want to know that if they are going to invest their money, that they are going to have a return or see an improvement in their life and they want to know that that [is an] investment they can trust,” said Denham.
He noted that individuals must be guaranteed that tax money is truly going to go where it’s supposed to go, and not get diverted to other areas; he raised common questions that individuals raise when evaluating the tax, like, “Am I going to have greater access? Will I receive better care?”
In regard to the health insurance tax to which he has cosponsored a Bill to repeal, Denham argued, that it cannot be proven.