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Gold, Silver, Bronze...Congress Can Do Better.

Author: Dan Danner, NFIB President and CEO Date: February 19, 2014

Winning an Olympic Games gold medal is one of the greatest moments in an athlete’s career – requiring dedication and total effort.

But on Capitol Hill, where legislators shape the course of our nation, some seem willing to settle for less than top honors. For example, several U.S. senators recently proposed adding a “copper” level of insurance coverage in an effort to create a lower cost option of the essential services required by President Obama’s flailing health care law.

For your small business – this is not a gold medal effort. These senators deserve an honorable mention for recognizing that the increased benefit requirements are leading to high health insurance costs for employers and employees, and relief is necessary.

However, creating a copper level for insurance would not go far enough to alleviate the expected new costs associated with the law. With newly required federal mandates and strict rules on plan adjustments, any relief proposal will need to go further than another level of coverage.

Main Street deserves more than a lukewarm effort. A winning strategy would reduce self-employed owners’ costs demands by making three key changes to the current law.

First, Congress should revisit the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits package and make affordability a priority. Lawmakers need only review NFIB’s long-standing recommendations that address this issue—still the No. 1 small-business problem after nearly 30 years.

Next, legislators should take a courageous run at helping small businesses that do offer coverage gain much-needed flexibility on deductible items instead of restricting you to just $2,000 for employee-only policies and $4,000 for family plans.

Then, they should include a provision eliminating the new taxes and fees you pay for health insurance products under Obamacare. The new charges unnecessarily increase the cost of insurance without providing value to consumers.

These common sense improvements would restore some certainty to your business and also provide better coverage for you and your employees. These objectives are integral to NFIB’s ongoing push to limit the Affordable Care Act’s damage to your company.

As always, NFIB’s success on Capitol Hill depends on your energetic and sustained support. What’s more, the Obama Administration’s constant delays and missteps now provide new opportunities for change by adding pressure on Congress to undertake serious revisions. While some have accepted this ill-conceived health care law in its current form as inevitable – NFIB will continue to stand up for your business, highlight problematic provisions, and loudly advocate for solutions that work for you and your small business.

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About the Author

Dan Danner, NFIB President and CEO

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