LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Congressman Hal Rogers and the London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce held a roundtable discussion Monday at the Laurel County Courthouse to discuss what the impact of the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare” as he called it, will be on local businesses.
The discussion focused on the thoughts and concerns of local small business owners in regard to how the ACA will effect them. Rogers began the discussion by telling the audience that he had just recently voted for the 40th time to repeal the act.
Beginning in October, the ACA will require businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide insurance to their employees.
Additionally, businesses that have fewer than 25 employees that earn an average salary of less than $50,000 could qualify for a tax credit of up to 50 percent of their insurance costs.
Although businesses will be required to offer insurance to their full-time employees under the ACA, individuals will not be required to have health insurance until the beginning of 2014.
Despite the ACA being designed to ensure that all Americans can have access to reasonably priced, quality health insurance policies, Rogers said the act does the opposite.
"There's nothing affordable about the Affordable Care Act," Rogers said. "Individuals in Kentucky should expect to see huge premium increases. We've heard the increase could be as much as 65 percent to 100 percent."
Due to the complexity of the new health care laws, Rogers stated there is no definite way to predict what insurance premium rates will look like in 2014, and then stated he believes the Act will create more than $165 billion in new taxes on insurance plans.
Rogers continued by saying he had already began hearing rumors that businesses are changing full-time jobs to part time in an attempt to avoid having to provide insurance for full-time employees. Rogers claimed full-time jobs have declined by nearly 25 million and that part-time employment had increased by nearly 30 percent.
“This administration not only doesn’t understand insurance, but they have no idea about business, they don’t know what makes businesses tick,” Rogers said. “All of the administration came out of academia or interest groups; none of them came from businesses. They have no idea how to run a business and that’s why business owners are saying these regulations don’t make sense.”
Rogers concluded the roundtable meeting by opening the floor to questions. One member of the audience asked Rogers what he planned to do if he was successful in repealing the Affordable Care Act.
“The system we had wasn’t that bad,” Rogers said. “There are things are we can fix or change to make better.”
Prior to the discussion, John Clay, with Better Source Benefits of Somerset, presented Rogers with a Congressional Service Award from NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors).