If you follow my posts on social media, you know I am not a supporter of many of the provisions in the “Affordable Care Act." Especially the mandates driving healthcare costs through the roof for small businesses. I acknowledge that there are serious problems with our current healthcare system and the GOP has failed in their responsibility to offer reasonable solutions, which disappoints me as a fiscal conservative. I also believe that the new legislation is severely flawed, which if not corrected could potentially do much more harm than good.
To that end, I sent an email to Jon Gruber, MIT Economics Professor and one of the key architects of the legislation, after he appeared on CNBC's Kudlow & Company about two weeks ago. Somewhat surprisingly to me, I received a response back from Dr. Gruber personally in less than an hour. In my email, I had outlined my concerns with "ACA" as a small business owner and Dr. Gruber confirmed that my concerns were legitimate.
I will say this before I let you read Dr. Gruber's reply. I don't think the President intentionally lied when he assured Americans that “if they like their current healthcare policy they’d be able to keep it.” Much of the legislation that gets passed in Washington is drafted by lobbyists along with administration and congressional staffers. To that end, I believe that our President and congressional members often times are unaware of some of the unintended consequences of parts of the legislation that they enact into law. I’m not sure that ignorance is much better than a lie, but it leaves plenty of middle ground for the uninformed citizens among us to debate.
With that, I give you Dr. Gruber’s response to my email outlining his feelings on the “ACA” and its effects on small businesses.
“Thanks for your reasonable and thoughtful email.
As you note, there have been large increases every year for small businesses - a huge economic problem for our country. The ACA does little to impact this in the near term. But what it does do is three things:
1) Starting next year, you will be able to allow your employees to shop in exchanges and choose from a wide variety of insurance plans that allow them to find one that may be cheaper and/or fit their tastes better.
2) If you have a low-income workforce there are tax credits you can get to offset the costs of insurance.
3) In the long run, the innovative cost controls included in the law will help bring down premium growth.
I realize this is little solace when you are struggling to pay your bills but I hope it makes things a little clearer.”
- Jon Gruber
I believe Dr. Gruber’s motives are sincere and that the current healthcare system will crumble around us if we do nothing. I would hope that anyone with a strong opinion on the Affordable Care Act, whether pro or con, has taken the time to understand the legislation rather than just form a misguided opinion based simply on party affiliation.
As always, we welcome all intelligent comments and points of view.