A small-business advocacy group that has fought the nation’s new health care laws all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court is now pushing five market-based solutions it claims will bring down the skyrocketing health care costs small-business owners face. Their alternative proposals focus on tax equality, defined contributions, risk pooling, portability and medical liability reform.
The proposals from the National Federation of Independent Business can been seen in the online video "NFIB's Top 5 Solutions to Replace Obamacare" hosted by Amanda Austin, the group's director of federal public policy.
"Small businesses got the short end of the stick when it came to this so-called reform," Austin said in her introduction of the NFIB proposals. "Well, NFIB has our own ideas of how to help small businesses when it comes to health care."
There should be equality in the tax code when it comes to purchasing health insurance, NFIB believes. The current tax code discriminates against individuals and many self-employed who buy their insurance in the individual market. The group would make health insurance costs fully deductable.
In addition, there should be a defined contribution option that would allow business owners to contribute a simple dollar amount, pretax, to their employees so that they could buy a health plan that's best suited to their needs.
"You wouldn't have to mess with administering the plan and your employees aren't stuck with only one option when it comes to health insurance," Austin said.
Big business, big labor and big government are able to pool risk and buy insurance across state lines, the NFIB says. That same option should be extended to small business, the group says.
"Small businesses should have a level playing field," Austin said. "They should be able to band together across state lines and purchase insurance in any market, not just in the confines of their state."
Making health insurance portable instead of linked to employment would encourage entrepreneurship, the NFIB says.
"Many people would like to start a business of their own, but are stuck in their current job because they are scared of losing their health insurance," Austin said. "Imagine how many more businesses we might have if we made health insurance portable instead of tied to employment?"
Frequently shunted aside in the health care reform debate is health care tort reform, the NFIB says. Reforming medical liability laws would reduce health care costs, the group claims.
"Doctors are so scared of being taken to court, they order a number of tests, procedures and medications patients might not need for fear of litigation," Austin said. "States are already taking matters into their own hands and passing medical liability reform there. Cheers to the lucky ones out there."
Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.