The Trump administration is expected to release a plan soon that it claims would help lower costs for small businesses struggling to afford health insurance, but the truth is this proposed rule will not fulfill that need.
If enacted, the rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would make it easier for insurance companies to sell health insurance across state lines, which would theoretically encourage groups of businesses, such as trade associations, to band together to form what are known as association health plans, or AHPs.
While some insist these plans would be a boon to small business, we as health care experts, insurance regulators, and small business advocates know they would create far more problems than they would solve. Indeed, this is why many state insurance commissioners and others have been sounding the alarm on the proposed rule.
Although the Trump administration and its allies failed to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last year, they took a number of smaller steps that added up to a big problem: The ACA is now weaker.
Unfortunately, the administration is still seeking to undermine the health-care law, moving forward with proposals that would expand association health plans (AHPs) and short-term insurance plans, both of which have the potential to limit the ability of state insurance commissioners to regulate health plans and cause premiums to rise.
While some claim these proposals would be a boon for small business, small business advocates and health-care experts know we must maintain safeguards that promote affordable health-care coverage and stabilized health insurance markets.
The proposal to expand association health plans threatens both state insurance oversight and market stability. If the administration’s current proposal becomes a rule without offering guarantees that states would retain regulatory authority over these plans, it could wreak havoc on the small-group market.
Mick Mulvaney is something of a novelty among Washington bureaucrats: He seems to want less power.
Mulvaney, as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, just proposed watering down his own agency in order to make it less capable of fulfilling its mission to protect consumers. In doing so, he showed he has no regard for the millions of American small businesses that need fraud protection and want to see Wall Street held accountable for practices that harm our economy.
Not one of Mulvaney’s recommendations would help the CFPB do its job better. He asked lawmakers to put the agency at the mercy of politics by subjecting it to congressional appropriations, instead of funding it through the Federal Reserve as it is now, and said he wants CFPB rules to be subjected to legislative approval. He also believes the president should have direct oversight of the bureau’s director, including the option to remove the director for purely political reasons. Finally, Mulvaney asked for more policing of the agency through the creation an inspector general’s office housed at the agency that would monitor the CFPB’s work.
It is undeniable that assaults on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will soon lead to massive spikes in health-care premiums, an outcome that will devastate America’s small businesses.
A recent analysis by California’s ACA marketplace, Covered California, estimates premiums would increase anywhere from 35 to 94 percent over the next three years mainly because Congress chose to eliminate the ACA’s individual mandate.
When these forecasts come true, it will be particularly harmful for small firms and self-employed business owners. After all, more than 3.7 million small-business employees are enrolled in the ACA marketplaces, and more than six in 10 ACA marketplace enrollees are small-business owners, self-employed or small-business employees.
A week in which President Donald Trump ended protections for immigrants from El Salvador and rejected a bipartisan framework to restore Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) culminated in the president displaying shocking ignorance about why immigrants from certain countries seek a new life in the United States.
The answer to your question, Mr. President, is simple: Many of them come to the United States to realize their entrepreneurial dreams, which is why we must restore DACA.
A report from the New American Economy Research Fund found immigrants owned nearly three million American businesses in 2014, employed almost six million people and produced more than $65 billion worth of income.
What’s more, immigrants from outside Europe had high rates of entrepreneurship or were self-employed in 2014: 19.1 percent of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa were entrepreneurs, while 11.1 percent of Hispanic immigrants and 10.6 percent of Asian immigrants were self employed.
As lawmakers continue to negotiate the renewal of DACA and other immigration policies, it is essential that they recognize the importance of sensible immigration policies to our nation’s small business community and our economy as a whole.