With small businesses across the country struggling to provide affordable health insurance for their employees, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., held a roundtable yesterday to discuss bipartisan solutions that would provide needed choice and flexibility.
As chairman of a subcommittee focusing on health and retirement security, Enzi brought together the group of experts with unique, on-the-ground perspectives to not only discuss solutions for short term problems in the health insurance market, but to help ensure small businesses are prepared for the future.
“We should try to ask the question what the market should look like in the future and what do we need to do to get there,” Enzi said.
While discussing many of their concerns, the representatives agreed that one of the major difficulties small businesses face when trying to provide health insurance is managing the new and impending health care regulations. They don’t have expertise that the big businesses are able to afford.
“The question is then ‘how do we fix it so their expertise can lend itself to getting insurance for their employees?,” Enzi said. “Almost all of them are interested in having health insurance for their employees and themselves.”
The participants also emphasized protecting against the cost of skyrocketing premiums, helping alleviate the economic impact of hiring new workers and coping with the poor success of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange, which was intended to offer small employers a range of affordable group health plans.
Enzi said that the government’s many efforts to fix the market for small business have clearly failed. And though small business owners view it as a priority to assist their employees in purchasing health insurance, Enzi said it was disappointing that they still face some of the least competitive, most expensive health insurance options out there.
“Hopefully out of this exercise that we are having we can come up with some ways that small business can be helped through the process,” Enzi said.