Yesterday, the nonpartisan RAND Corporation published a new report, revealing that an additional 10 million workers at small businesses will have access to affordable health insurance, as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The report shows that, once the Health Insurance Exchanges are functioning, the proportion of workers in businesses with 50 or fewer employees with the option of purchasing affordable health insurance at work will increase from 60.4 percent to 85.9 percent. Small businesses employ most Americans. From the Los Angeles Times:
…An economist and two health policy researchers at the nonprofit Rand Corp. conducted a simulation to predict what is likely to happen once employers are able to offer coverage through these exchanges. Overall, they estimate that the proportion of U.S. workers who will have access to health insurance through their jobs will jump from 84.6% to 94.6%. That works out to 13.6 million additional workers having the option to buy affordable health plans.
Most of that bump is likely to come from smaller businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Today, only 60.4% of these employees can get health insurance through their jobs. Once the exchanges are functioning, the Rand researchers forecast that 85.9% of small business employees will have the option of buying health plans at work – an increase of 10.5 million workers.
Part of the reason for that growth is that the policies that will be offered through the exchanges will be less expensive, the researchers said. Small companies will be able to band together to pool their risk, which will give them more leverage to bargain with insurance companies. It also means their premiums should be more stable from year to year…
And this morning, the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund found that:
Relief for small businesses was greatly needed, as most of the erosion in employer health coverage over the last decade has taken place in small firms. Currently, 52 percent of workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees are uninsured or underinsured.
Millions of small businesses will benefit from the new small business tax credits included in the Affordable Care Act to help them afford health insurance for their workers, which became effective in January 2010.
16.6 million workers are estimated to be currently working in the small businesses that are eligible for these new small business tax credits.
Democrats in Congress and President Obama enacted landmark health insurance reforms to make health coverage more affordable for small businesses and families, and protect young adults, the middle class, women, and seniors. Despite the clear benefits of health insurance reform – Republican leaders are standing with insurance companies and want to repeal the Patient’s Bill of Rights which protects Americans from discrimination when they need it most – when they get sick or have a pre-existing condition.