The former governor of Minnesota was in Pennsylvania recently acting as Mitt Romney’s surrogate because Mitt Romney was unwilling or unable to appear personally:
Although he campaigned on being a champion of the middle class, Pawlenty said Obama’s policies have destroyed small businesses by imposing a new tax – the AHCA’s individual mandate – as a regulation on small businesses.
Pawlenty is lying. I think we’re going to be hearing this lie a lot by Republicans and (of course) it will go completely unrebutted by media, because God forbid people should actually find out what’s in this law. That would be unfair to Republicans, because Republicans don’t have a health care law. You see the third grade logic here, I’m sure. “Having a health care law” is an unfair advantage for that Lucky Duck Obama and the Democrats. Unfair! Level the playing field, pronto. Don’t ever mention what’s in the law. That’s a shame, because the PPACA is really good news for smaller employers, and people should know that. Here’s the actual provisions of the law that apply to those employers with fewer than 50 employees:
If you have up to 25 employees, pay average annual wages below $50,000, and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% (up to 25% for non-profits) to offset the cost of your insurance. This will bring down the cost of providing insurance.
• Under the health care law, employer-based plans that provide health insurance to retirees ages 55-64 can now get financial help through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program is designed to lower the cost of premiums for all employees and reduce employer health costs.
• Starting in 2014, the small business tax credit goes up to 50% (up to 35% for non-profits) for qualifying businesses. This will make the cost of providing insurance even lower.
• In 2014, small businesses with generally fewer than 100 employees can shop in an Affordable Insurance Exchange, which gives you power similar to what large businesses have to get better choices and lower prices. An Exchange is a new marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy affordable health benefit plans.
• Exchanges will offer a choice of plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards. Starting in 2014, members of Congress will be getting their health care insurance through Exchanges, and you will be able to buy your insurance through Exchanges, too.
• Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from new employer responsibility policies. They don’t have to pay an assessment if their employees get tax credits through an Exchange.
What this law actually does is provide an immediate and direct benefit to those small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. What this law actually does is allow those small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to compete with larger businesses in terms of offering benefits to employees. What this law actually does is give individuals some measure of health insurance security, so they can leave an employer and start their own business. With the PPACA, one could quit a job with a larger employer and START a small business, without putting the entire family at risk for actual bodily harm due to loss of employer-provided insurance and subsequent denial of medical care.
Starting in 2014, large businesses (those with 50 or more full-time workers) that do not provide adequate health insurance will be required to pay an assessment if their employees receive premium tax credits to buy their own insurance. These assessments will offset part of the cost of these tax credits. The assessment for a large employer that does not offer coverage will be $2,000 per full-time employee beyond the company’s first 30 workers.
The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that fewer than 2% of large American employers will have to pay these assessments.
Republicans like Pawlenty and Romney are protecting larger businesses to the detriment of smaller businesses, because larger businesses do indeed have new responsibilities under the law. That’s why larger businesses are fighting it. Larger employers with low-wage uninsured or under-insured employees will no longer be able to pass their employee health care costs onto the public. They will have to pay us back if they refuse to provide decent health insurance to their employees, and their uninsured or underinsured employees then go to the federally-subidized exchanges to purchase health insurance.
Oh, and read this last sentence again:
The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that fewer than 2% of large American employers will have to pay these assessments
Not only are Mitt Romney and his surrogates lying about the law to elevate the interests of larger business over smaller business (those with fewer than 50 employees) they are protecting the bad actors. They are protecting that 2% of larger employers who refuse to provide any health insurance to their employees, and also refuse to reimburse the public when their employees inevitably end up receiving publicly-subsidized health care, now, and publicly-funded subsidies, later.
If you are a small business owner with fewer than 50 employees, Mitt Romney and the GOP are actively working against your best interests. What’s more, they are working against an individual’s ability to (responsibly) leave employment with a larger business and start their own small business, or go to work for a small business, while retaining comprehensive health insurance. That’s what federally subsidized universal coverage allows people to do. Your health care coverage will no longer be determined by and dependent on your employer. One has to wonder why that scares the GOP so much.