Opposition to H.R. 3200
A number of concerns remain to the legislation as drafted
While the intent to provide health insurance access to all Americans is laudable, there remain a number of concerns to the legislation as drafted that would have severe impacts on families, small businesses, and individual's current health insurance coverage.
COST: The current skyrocketing cost of healthcare in unsustainable. However, H.R. 3200 does little to halt the rising costs of healthcare; the only documented 'cost-savings' is a tax on 'wealthy' individuals and businesses. The approximate cost for this bill is nearly $1 trillion over 10 years, further making our nation's health system unsustainable and jeopardizing our future economy.
MANDATE: H.R. 3200 requires employers to offer healthcare, which meets the 'minimum benefit' standards to be set by the government, or pay an 8% payroll tax. Employers pay this tax regardless of whether or not the business is having a profitable year, and punishes wage and job growth since the tax increases as payroll increases. This 'pay or play' mandate could generate a net loss of more than 1.6 million U.S. jobs between 2009 and 2013, and U.S. real GDP would contract by nearly $200 billion between 2009 and 2013.
Further, if employers currently offer employees health insurance, they must meet the premium contribution requirements set forth in the bill (72.5% for individuals and 65% for family plans).
If the employer offers, and the employee declines, health insurance, the employer still pays the 8% payroll tax.
SURTAX: The bill levies a surtax on married or joint adjusted gross income to raise approximately $544 billion to help offset the cost of the bill: 1.0% surtax on incomes from $350,000 to $500,000; 1.5% surtax on incomes between $500,000 and $1 million; and a 5.4% on incomes over $1 million, with surtaxes beginning in 2011.
This surtax results in reducing a business's after-tax profits, as nearly 75% of small businesses are structured as pass-through entities and pay their business taxes at the individual level.
PUBLIC OPTION/INSURANCE EXCHANGE: An insurance exchange will be created to provide a venue for employers and employees to find health insurance plans. However, small businesses with more than 21 employees will not have access to the exchange.
One insurance option on the exchange will be a 'public option', that will provide the essential minimum benefits as determined by the government. Not only does this raise concerns on the impact of private insurance plans, but it moves towards a 'single payer' system capable of providing limited coverage and rationed care.
Under the public health insurance option, the government is empowered to implement rules that would restrict patients' choice of physician and limit timely access to quality specialty care.
The government acts as both the regulator of and participant in the healthcare market.
The MCAA strongly opposes this legislation and asks member firms to contact their representatives today and express their opposition to the bill. We would also ask that members share this information with employees and ask for their support on contacting their representatives. The MCAA participated (with the support of the Keelen Group) by having an MCAA member present at a major press event by Minority Whip Eric Cantor. MCAA member Beverly McCauley from Falls Church Construction participated in a small round table of small businesses to describe the impact this legislation will have on their businesses. This was a major press event which took place on July 28, 2009.
Photos of the event can be viewed on Facebook and Flickr.
About the Author
Matthew B. Keelen, founder and President of the government affairs firm The Keelen Group, is a widely known and highly regarded lobbyist and political strategist with experience building relationships with key figures and a reputation for consistently delivering hard-earned victories. Acknowledged for his innate ability to establish and develop long lasting political relationships, Keelen has dozens of time-tested relationships with Members of Congress, including many who are in positions of considerable influence today. To learn more about The Keelen Group, visit www.keelengroup.com.