More Small Businesses Offering Health Care To Employees Thanks To Obamacare
By RICK UNGAR
The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.
The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.
Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.
We certainly did not expect to see this in this economy,” said Gary Claxton, who oversees an annual survey of employer health plans for the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. “It’s surprising.”
How significant is the impact? While we won’t have full national numbers until small businesses file their 2010 tax returns this April, the anecdotal evidence is as meaningful as it is unexpected.
United Health Group, Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer, added 75,000 new customers working in businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
Coventry Health Care, Inc., a large provider of health insurance to small businesses, added 115,000 new workers in 2010 representing an 8% jump.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest health insurer in the Kansas City, Mo. area, reports an astounding 58% increase in the number of small businesses purchasing coverage in their area since April, 2010-one month after the health care reform legislation became law.
“One of the biggest problems in the small-group market is affordability,” said Ron Rowe, who oversees small-group sales for the Kansas City operation for Blue Cross Blue Shied. “We looked at the tax credit and said, ‘this is perfect.”
Rowe went on to say that 38% of the businesses it is signing up had not offered health benefits before.
Whatever your particular ideology, there is simply no denying that these statistics are incredibly heartening. However, for those of you who cannot get past your opposition, even for a moment of universal good news, let’s break it down.
The primary, most enduring complaint of the opponents of the ACA has been that the law is deathly bad for small business.
Apparently, small businesses, and their employees, do not agree.
The next argument has been that the PPACA is a job killer.
If these small businesses found the new law to be so onerous, why have so many of them voluntarily taken advantage of the benefits provided in the law to give their employees these benefits? They were not mandated to do so. And to the extent that the coming mandate obligations might figure into their thinking, would you not imagine they would wait until 2014 to make a move as the rules do not go into effect until that time?
Of course, there is the nagging banter as to how Obamacare is leading us down the road to socialism.
Let it go, folks.
Private market insurance companies are experiencing significant growth because of a tax break provided by the PPACA. I may have missed the day this was discussed in economics class, but I’m pretty sure this is not a socialistic result of federal legislation.
When data like this appears, we have the opportunity to really find out who is talking smack for political benefit and who actually cares about getting affordable and available health care to America’s workers. Certainly, there will be elements of the new law that will not work out exactly as planned. That’s simply reality when it comes to any new piece of landmark legislation. But if you cannot celebrate what appears to be an important early success, you really should give some thought as to where your true interests and intents lie.
If you’re all about beating up on President Obama, you can conveniently forget this bit of data as if it never really happened. However, if your interest is to make health care available to more Americans, this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs.