Small business suffers under Obamacare

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Leading up to the passage of Obamacare, President Obama said, 的f you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only changes you値l see are falling costs as our reforms take hold. Politifact determined this statement, said in 37 different variations by Obama, a 撤ants on Fire lie. The former President and his supporters promised that premiums would go down $2,500 for the average family, yet premiums have gone up several thousand dollars a year for millions of American families. Deductibles have also increased substantially in most cases. The failed logic of Obamacare was that if everyone had insurance, the uninsured would no longer use the emergency room for general care, charity care would be reduced dramatically and costs would decrease. Yet prices continue to grow faster than inflation. We seem to have just fueled the fire of health care costs.

As an employer with more than 50 employees, I have first-hand experience with how Obamacare continues to harm small businesses across our nation. I face a penalty from the federal government if I do not offer health insurance to any employee who works 30 hours or more per week. Before Obamacare, I made the choice to offer health insurance to these employees, but with the flexibility to choose a plan that works best for their needs. Unfortunately, I can no longer say that health insurance is a good benefit for the vast majority of my employees.

The total premium cost for my average employee with dependents is approximately $10,000 per year. The employee pays 35 percent and I pay 65 percent. In addition to premiums, the deductible is $5,000 per person with a $10,000 maximum per family. I also contribute $1,000 to $2,000 per employee into a health savings account to help offset the high deductible. Together, the employee and I are paying approximately $9.50 per hour for this coverage, while only 10 percent to 15 percent of my employees ever hit their deductible.

If one of my full time employees worked less than 30 hours per week for me and 10 hours or less for another employer, they could get the same insurance coverage on the Obamacare exchange for only $2,100 per year approximately $1.00 per hour, with no cost to the employer. This is an incredible disincentive for employers to hire full time employees and for workers to work full time!

Obamacare痴 insurance mandates are not working. It痴 time to repeal Obamacare and give employers the option to work with other employers to provide benefits that work and make financial sense. I believe congress should repeal Obamacare immediately but allow those who wish to stay on Obamacare a two year period while congress works on a solution. At the same time, we must address the root cause of our astronomical health insurance costs hospital and drug costs that continue to increase at unsustainable insurance rates.

We won稚 fix our nation痴 healthcare problems by throwing more money at a flawed system that harms millions of hard working Americans while providing a disincentive to full time employment.

Rep. Greg Hertz, R-Polson

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