Health care bill passed by Kentucky congressman set to help small businesses

As disputes over the Affordable Care Act continue, a Kentucky congressman has found a way to help small businesses maintain health care coverage for their workers.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green recently his bill to amend the Affordable Care Act and Public Health Service Act to include employers with 51 to 100 employees as large employers for purposes of health insurance markets pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by the president.

The Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act, or PACE Act for short, maintains the current definition of the small group market for health insurance as employers with 1-50 employees. That definition was set to change January 1, 2016 to include companies with 51-100 employees who would not be able to keep their current health care plans.

In a sit-down interview with the Kentucky Chamber’s Bottom Line, Guthrie said he introduced the legislation after hearing from many small employers about the concerns of their health insurance rates going up.

“What we really wanted to do was help the president keep his promise. The president promised ‘if you like your health care, you can keep it.’ Well, you know, we heard that from individuals last year but this year it was the same from businesses. They weren’t going to be able to keep the health care they were providing, they were going to have to go into a new pool with new insurance that was going to cost a lot more,” Guthrie said. “And some people have to make the decision to even maintain insurance or do I put people into the pool and pay the fine that the Supreme Court turned into a tax. So it put a lot of businesses in a bad situation.”

The legislation give the power back to the states to decide how these businesses are classified. Guthrie said states will need to opt-in to classify small businesses this way (hear Guthrie tell a story from the process of getting the bill passed at 3:00).

“I can’t conceive of the Kentucky legislature forcing businesses to go back into the small pool and raising their insurance rates 20 percent,” Guthrie said, noting that the General Assembly will have to pass legislation to move forward with the changes made in the PACE Act (at 5:30 in interview below).

Hear all the details about the bill and much more in the Bottom Line interview with Guthrie below:

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Jacqueline Pitts
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