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Insurance Exchanges Could Ease Burden On Small Biz

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Here’s hoping we in South Carolina get a shot at purchasing our health insurance through a competitive and transparent market!

By Misty Williams

Saturday, October 22, 2011

As co-owner of a small IT solutions company in Alpharetta, Julie Haley would rather be out networking and snapping up new business instead of spending hours looking for ways to curb her firm’s escalating health insurance costs.

“It really crippled us,” she said, adding that the exorbitant cost meant growing the business more slowly.

Like small businesses across Georgia and the nation, health care costs for Edge Solutions, which Haley started in 2008, have been jumping by double digits. Haley estimates in the first year alone, health care costs made up 25 percent of operating expenses – in part because without at least 10 employees insurers wouldn’t even bother talking with her. Instead, she paid pricey continuation coverage of workers’ prior plans to attract the experienced people she needed who were used to great benefits at larger companies.

Some relief could be on the way, however, with the creation of a small business insurance exchange in Georgia that experts say could reduce costs for employers and increase plan options for workers.

A committee of local health care experts, lawmakers and community leaders is exploring ways to develop an exchange — required starting in 2014 under the federal health care law — and will deliver final legislative recommendations to the governor by Dec. 15. The group is also looking at an exchange for individuals.

While opposing the health care overhaul, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed the committee earlier this year — saying it made sense to study Georgia-based solutions while the courts decide whether the law is unconstitutional. The federal government will step in to set up exchanges if states don’t. Continue reading

Promising Future For The Affordable Care Act

From The Huffington Post:

Ron Pollack–06/ 9/11 02:22 PM ET

There’s encouraging news out of Atlanta today for all Americans. The third hearing before the court of appeals left me feeling optimistic about the future of the Affordable Care Act.

But let’s start from the beginning. There have been approximately two dozen suits filed against the Affordable Care Act’s individual responsibility provision. All but two of the cases decided so far by federal district courts threw out those challenges, most on procedural grounds but several on the constitutional merits.

But Florida judge Roger Vinson, weighing in on a 26-state lawsuit against the new law, took his anti-health reform stance to the extreme. In February, he ruled that because he found the individual responsibility provision unconstitutional, the entire law should be thrown out with it.

Roger Vinson’s ruling is simply conservative judicial activism run amok. Long-standing judicial principles make clear that courts should deal with constitutional challenges as narrowly as possible — a principle Judge Vinson cited in his opinion and then did the exact opposite. Additionally, experts from both sides of the aisle have said his ruling goes too far. Continue reading

The Tea Party Vs. Affordable Health Care, Small Businesses

From Politico:
Govs. Fallin, Haley and Deal have taken flack over health insurance exchanges. | AP Photos

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By FRANK MICCICHE | 4/26/11 4:39 AM EDT

What does the tea party have against helping small businesses find affordable health insurance for their employees?

Tea party-linked groups have recently spiked legislation in three states that would have authorized federally funded planning to create health insurance exchanges. Activists successfully blocked the efforts of these GOP governors to explore market-based alternatives that would address the stubbornly high ranks of the uninsured in their states. In doing so, they blanketed Republican supporters of this exchange legislation with claims of complicity in the enforcement of “Obamacare.”

The tea party’s success — and the unintended consequences for a constituency with whom they share a number of small government principles — says a lot about the current state of health care policy-making in the states.

Continue reading

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