A good number of Americans received some good news, as a change to Obamacare has removed the worry of rising premiums for 2016. Thanks to a new bill signed into action by President Obama, 3 million people will keep their current premiums’ costs next year. This is cause for celebration, but it’s only the most recent change to the healthcare law.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) found that since being passed in 2010, at least 14 similar bills have been signed into action involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Surprisingly, the CRS, which serves as a congressional think tank, said that this includes changes from both the Democrats and Republicans.
Major savings for small businesses in 2016
This most recent bill, which was signed on Oct. 8, addresses a problem affecting 150,000 small businesses. The law’s original wording stated that for small businesses with less than 50 employees, there were special rules concerning coverage; this resulted in higher costs for employers. But starting in 2016, the change will instead be applied to small businesses of 51 to 100 employees.
These small businesses will now have the ability to decide how to classify their businesses of 51-100 employees. As a result, these businesses may be spared paying higher premiums. Without this change, they may have faced increases of 18 percent or more. Additionally, with workers’ insurance premiums decreasing, their taxable income increases. Economists estimate that over the next decade, this could result in $280 million in additional revenues to the federal government. Those newly acquired funds would be used to support Medicaid.
A long line of bipartisan changes
This newly signed bill represents millions in savings, but it’s only the latest in a long line. In 2011, an ACA provision was repealed that required businesses to report to the IRS whenever they made a purchase of more than $600 to a single vendor.
Another involved the 2013 repeal of a voluntary, long-term care insurance plan, known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. This law was designed with the intent of establishing a voluntary, long-term care insurance program to pay for community-based services and support for individuals with functional limitations. However, it was thought that this plan would attract those beneficiaries requiring large medical payouts. And ultimately, it was felt that the necessary premiums couldn’t be collected to cover all costs. As such, the CLASS Act was repealed.
And while the healthcare law does have its opponents, there are many that still understand its importance for Americans. “There are a lot of things in the bill that need fixing. I’m for repeal and replace,” stated Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., this most recent bill’s sponsor. “But here’s the situation: You have people being negatively affected, and so can we find a way to work together to fix it. Sometimes it’s not about who has the biggest lobbying firm. It’s when you have grassroots people who say they’re being negatively affected. … And this affects businesses every congressional district in the country.”