As states across the country take steps to move forward with health reform, the Main Street Alliance released an updated set of small business recommendations for the design and governance of new competitive marketplaces for health insurance, called health insurance exchanges. The recommendations aim to ensure that the exchanges maximize benefits for participating small businesses and avoid conflicts of interest.
Small business leaders from the Main Street Alliance and our state affiliates weighed in and framed the debate in press coverage of the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. MSA small business leaders shared concrete, personal stories of how the law is helping their businesses and what small businesses can look forward to now that the law has been upheld and will keep moving forward. A compilation of links and excerpts from the coverage follows!
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. Main Street Alliance business leaders celebrated the decision, saying they’re already benefiting from the ACA and the court ruling means they can look forward to more benefits going forward.
The Main Street Alliance released the following statements from small business owners in response to the Court’s decision:
John Costin, owner of Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebunk, ME and a leader with the Maine Small Business Coalition:
“This is a good day for small businesses across America. Small business owners knew we couldn’t afford to go back to the nightmare scenario that health care was for us before reform. The Supreme Court’s decision means we won’t have to. Instead, we can keep looking forward.
“Provisions of the Affordable Care Act – from rate review to the value for premiums rule to the guarantee that there’s somewhere to go for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition – are already making a difference for small businesses, and there’s more to look forward to. Now that the court case is behind us, it’s time to put politics aside and get down to implementing the law to maximize the benefits for small businesses.”
Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale in Seattle, WA and leader with the Main Street Alliance of Washington:
“The Affordable Care Act is already taking critical steps to lower costs and bring affordable, good quality health coverage within reach for small businesses. The Court’s decision reaffirms what small business owners like me have been saying all along: we need to keep building on the ACA, not repeal it. I may be a risk taker, but that’s a risk I can’t afford to take. I can’t afford to go back to the broken health insurance marketplace that gave us rate hikes of 20, 30, and 40 percent a year.
“Now that the Court has confirmed the law is constitutional, it’s time to move forward with implementing it and taking full advantage of the opportunities it creates to lower health care costs and level the playing field for small businesses. That will allow business owners like me to focus on what we do best – things like creating jobs and serving up great value to customers.”
Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, OR, co-chair of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, and MSA national executive committee member:
“I joined the fight for health care reform because I knew from painful experience that the insurance companies weren’t meeting the needs of small businesses. After nearly 10 years of double-digit premium increases, the ACA provided my small business over $12,000 a year in tax credits, a 3 percent drop in premiums, and made it possible for my two adult children to rejoin our health plan.
“I saw the campaign to reform health care in this country as an investment in the success of my small business. The Court’s decision to affirm the ACA makes this a great day for America and for America’s small businesses.”
Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite Associates architectural woodworking in Bloomfield, NJ and MSA national executive committee member:
“By turning back a baseless, politically motivated challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court demonstrated today the judicial independence all Americans expect of our highest court. Now the hard work of implementation begins in earnest.
“Hopefully, obstructionists have gotten the message and will either put their shoulders to the wheel and work in good faith to make our health care system the best in the world, or stand aside and let the rest of us get on with it. The future health and profitability of the small business community, among other things, depends on it.”
Melanie Collins, owner of Melanie’s Home Childcare in Falmouth, ME and a leader with the Maine Small Business Coalition:
“I’m hugely relieved the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Because of the ACA, for the first time in 22 straight years of buying health insurance for myself, my premiums did not go up. I was able to keep my health insurance and increase my employee hours. Without the ACA preventing my premiums from skyrocketing, I would have been forced to cut employee hours and my family would have to go without health insurance.
“We’re barely getting by. We can’t afford the financial and health costs of giving control of our health care back to the insurance companies. The Supreme Court was right in upholding the ACA, which by law makes sure everyone has health coverage that is affordable, and ensures everyone pays their fair share.”
On June 21, the Department of Health and Human Services released figures showing health insurance customers are due rebates totaling $1.1 billion from insurance companies that spent too little of their premium dollars on health care in 2011. These rebates are thanks to the 80/20 “value for premiums” rule in the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar collected in the small group and individual markets on health care (as opposed to lobbying, advertising, executive compensation, and general administration).