by Patrick Appel
[E]xchanges in the majority of states won’t be offering health plan choice to small business owners. For all practical purposes, then, the law’s exchanges will offer nothing to small business owners and employees. As health policy professor (and ObamaCare supporter) Timothy Jost noted in Health Affairs when the delay was first proposed, the choice option was the “primary benefit” offered by the law’s small business exchange system. Without that option, he wrote, it’s “unclear what advantage” those exchanges would actually offer to small employers over currently available insurance options. The Chamber of Commerce seems to agree. As USA Today notes, it issued a statement saying that because of the delay, small business insurance purchased in the health exchange, “will be of little or no value to employers, or by extension, their employees.”
Joe Klein blames the administration:
This is a really bad sign. There will be those who argue that it’s not the Administration’s fault. It’s the fault of the 33 states that have refused to set up their own exchanges. Nonsense. Where was the contingency planning? There certainly are models, after all—the federal government’s own health benefits plan (FEHBP) operates markets that exist in all 50 states. So does Medicare Advantage. But now, the Obama Administration has announced that it won’t have the exchanges ready in time, that small businesses will be offered one choice for the time being—for a year, at least. No doubt, small business owners will be skeptical of the Obama Administration’s belief in the efficacy of the market system to produce lower prices through competition. That was supposed to be the point of this plan.
Casey Mulligan looks at other ways Obamacare could impact businesses.