Senate Small Biz Panel Talks Obamacare

May 6, 2015

pic-healthThe U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing last week to examine the potential small business-impact of the latest Obamacare Supreme Court case. With a ruling expected in June on the King v. Burwell case, the committee’s witnesses agreed that a ruling against the administration could dramatically change the health insurance landscape for small businesses and their employees.

Linda Blumberg, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center said that a ruling against Obamacare would disproportionately affect the employees of small businesses, who are more likely to purchase insurance coverage in the individual market rather than through an employer-based plan. She said that millions of these employees could lose health coverage and/or subsidies.

However, other witnesses at the April 29 hearing saw a ruling against the administration as an opportunity. Jeffrey Anderson of The 2017 Project said that such a ruling would allow the government to shift to a refundable tax credit available to all. Anderson said such an approach would increase individual choice and help drive down costs.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), the Committee Chair, welcomed the opportunity that the upcoming ruling could create to change the direction of the health care law. The Ranking Democrat, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) complained that the hearing was premature and speculative, given that the nature of the Supreme Court ruling will not be known for some weeks.