Please see below for a fact check on erroneous comments made this morning by Senator Hutchison on the Senate floor about the effects of health reform on small businesses:
RHETORIC: Hutchison Cited A NFIB Letter That Asked, “When Evaluating Health Care Reform Options, Small Business Owners Ask Themselves Two Questions: Will The Bill Lower Insurance Costs? And Will It Increase The Overall Cost Of Doing Business?” Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison: “So we are very concerned about these taxes, and in fact the small businesses of our country have said, no, do not do this to us. The NFIB, which is the National Federation of Independent Business, sent a letter just this week saying ‘when evaluating health care reform options, small business owners ask themselves two questions: Will the bill lower insurance costs? And will it increase the overall cost of doing business?'” [Senate Floor, 12/11/09]

REALITY: SMALL BUSINESS WINS UNDER REFORM

CBO On Senate Bill: Certain Employers Would Be Allowed To Give Employees Access To Exchanges, Covering An Additional 5 Million People. In its estimate of the Senate reform bill, CBO wrote: “Under the legislation, certain employers could allow all of their workers to choose among the plans available in the exchanges, but those enrollees would not be eligible to receive subsidies via the exchanges…CBO and JCT expect that approximately 5 million people would obtain coverage that way in 2019, bringing the total number of people enrolled in exchange plans to about 30 million in that year.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]

CBO On Senate Bill Included $27 Billion Small Business Tax Credit For Providing Coverage. In its estimate of the Senate reform bill, CBO wrote: “The other main element of the coverage provisions that would increase federal deficits is the tax credit for small employers who offer health insurance, which is estimated to reduce revenues by $27 billion over 10 years.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]

Business Roundtable: Without Reform, Health Care Costs Rise To $28,530 Per Employee, 166% Higher; With Reform, Businesses Could Save $3,000 Per Employee. A report from the Business Roundtable concluded that: “If the cost trends of the past 10 years repeat, by 2019, employment-based spending on health care at large employers will be 166% higher than today on a per-employee basis. This equates to an average of $28,530 per employee when employer subsidies, employee contributions, and employee out-of-pocket costs are combined. We estimate that if enacted properly, the right legislative reforms could potentially reduce that trend line by more than $3,000 per employee, to $25,435.” [Business Roundtable – Health Care Reform, 11/12/09]

Small Business Majority Study: With Reform, Small Business Will Save As Much As $855 Billion Over The Next 10 Years. Small Business Majority Study: “Without reform, small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years in healthcare costs for their workers. With reform, the study shows that small businesses can save as much as $855 billion, a reduction of 36 percent, money that can be reinvested to grow the economy.” [The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business, 6/11/09]

Small Business Majority Study: Reform Will Reduce The Cost To Small Businesses Of Providing Health Care. “Comprehensive healthcare reform… will reduce the cost to small businesses of providing health insurance to their employees.” [The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business, 6/11/09]

Small Business Majority Study: Small Businesses Will “Likely Fare Better” Under The Reforms Being Debated In Washington. “Small businesses in the United States are suffering great harm under our current healthcare system will likely fare far better under a substantially reformed system along the lines of what is currently being debated in Washington.” [The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business, 6/11/09]

REALITY: THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WILL REDUCE COSTS AND LOWER PREMIUMS FOR FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESS

WP: CBO Said The Senate Health Care Bill “Would Leave Premiums Unchanged Or Slightly Lower For The Vast Majority Of Americans, Contradicting Assertions By The Insurance Industry That The Average Family’s Coverage Would Rise.” “As the Senate opened debate Monday on a landmark plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, congressional budget analysts said the measure would leave premiums unchanged or slightly lower for the vast majority of Americans, contradicting assertions by the insurance industry that the average family’s coverage would rise by thousands of dollars if the proposal became law.” [Washington Post, 12/1/09]

NYT: CBO Said That The Senate Health Care Bill Could “Significantly Reduce Costs For Many People Who Buy Health Insurance On Their Own” And Would Reduce Premiums For People Who Get Their Insurance Through Their Employers. “The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the Senate health bill could significantly reduce costs for many people who buy health insurance on their own, and that it would not substantially change premiums for the vast numbers of Americans who receive coverage from large employers. … In groups with 50 or fewer employees, it said, unsubsidized premiums in 2016 would average $7,800 a year for individuals and $19,200 for families — scarcely any different from the amounts expected under current law. Of the 25 million people receiving coverage from small businesses, it said, 3 million would qualify for subsidies, which would reduce their premiums by an average of 8 percent to 11 percent. Large employers would generally not be eligible for such assistance. Their premiums in 2016 under the bill would average $7,300 for individual coverage and $20,100 for family coverage, the report said. Under current law, the comparable figures would be $7,400 for individual coverage and $20,300 for family coverage.” [New York Times, 12/1/09]

Ezra Klein: “Congressional Budget Office: Reform Will Bring Down The Cost Of Health-Care Insurance.” “The Congressional Budget Office released a report today estimating changes to average premiums under the Senate health-care bill. The report is going to prove very important, and is going to confuse a lot of people. So let’s be very, very clear about what it says. The CBO’s analysis broke the health-care system into three parts: individual, small group and large group. The small- and large-group markets account for 159 million Americans, and have very little change in premiums. But what change they see is in the right direction: Health-care reform is expected to reduce premiums in the large group market by about 1.5 percent, and in the small group market by about 0.5 percent. … So in the final analysis, the effect of reform on your typical individual market purchasers is to give them insurance that’s about 30 percent better but only 10 to 12 percent more expensive, and then assure them subsidies that will lower their payments by more than 50 percent. And if you’re in the small group or large group markets, your premiums are expected to fall a bit.” [Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 11/30/09]

TNR: Health Care Reform Will “In Fact Deliver Some Savings… [And] It Certainly Won’t Raise Premiums.” “If you get insurance through a large employer, then your insurance premiums should stay roughly the same, with perhaps a very small decrease.If you get insurance through a small employer, then, again, your insurance premiums should stay roughly the same, with perhaps an even smaller decrease. … If you get insurance on your own, then your premiums would probably go up, because you’d end up buying coverage that was more comprehensive. … But–and this is the key point–newly available federal subsidies will more than offset this increase. In other words, the majority of people buying coverage on their own will be able to spend less money and, at the same time, get better insurance. … But this analysis suggests reform can in fact deliver some savings–and that it certainly won’t raise premiums, as so many conservative critics have predicted.” [The New Republic, 11/30/09]

MIT Analysis: The Senate Health Care Bill Would Reduce Premium Prices In The Individual Health Insurance Market. “A new analysis by a leading MIT economist provides new ammunition for Democrats as the Senate begins formally debating the historic health-reform bill being pushed by President Barack Obama. The report concludes that under the Senate’s health-reform bill, Americans buying individual coverage will pay less than they do for today’s typical individual market coverage, and would be protected from high out-of-pocket costs. … Gruber concludes that people purchasing individual insurance would save an annual $200 (singles) to $500 (families) in 2009 dollars. And people with low incomes would receive premium tax credits that would reduce the price that they pay for health insurance by as much as $2,500 to $7,500.” [Politico, 11/28/09]

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