Columns

Blaine's Bulletin: We Can and Must Do Better

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Washington, February 10, 2017 | comments
“We are looking for ways to provide the same great service while at the same time looking at more ways to cut our costs. We are running out of ideas to cut costs because this bad economy has been going on for five years now. We continue to work longer hours instead of hiring new workers.” – constituent from Jefferson City
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“We are looking for ways to provide the same great service while at the same time looking at more ways to cut our costs. We are running out of ideas to cut costs because this bad economy has been going on for five years now. We continue to work longer hours instead of hiring new workers.” – constituent from Jefferson City

That is just one story that I have heard out of hundreds of examples that constituents have shared with me. Thoughtless regulations, including those stemming from Obamacare, have hurt our nation’s small business owners and employees so severely that many don’t see a way out. This is a very critical issue for our state, because over 1.1 million of our fellow Missourians are employed by small businesses. With a new administration in office, we have an opportunity to get the government out of the way so that our small businesses can once again serve as the economic engines of our local communities. As a result, a key ingredient for growing our economy and creating good-paying jobs in our own backyard is to not allow the status quo of Obamacare to stand.

As a former small businessman myself and as Vice Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, I’ve heard firsthand about the challenges brought about by the crushing federal regulations that workers and employers face on a day to day basis. Compliance costs have skyrocketed and expansion and growth have stagnated. Recently, our committee convened a hearing to reimagine what the health-care marketplace should look like for our small businesses. There was a common theme from the witnesses: small businesses want access and affordability. One of the witnesses that testified at the hearing is the president of a small manufacturing company that employs 37 workers and he said that Obamacare has prevented new hiring because health-care costs at his company increased by 51 percent. The witness went on to say  that from 2013 to 2017, the average total cost per employee for health insurance coverage increased by 51.7 percent and the business pays 70 percent or most of the cost of employee coverage. This is unacceptable and unsustainable.

We can and must do better. We need to be able to ensure that small businesses have more control and more choices to pick the plans that meets their needs and the needs of their employees – not Washington’s mandates.

Small businesses were promised a plan that would be simple. Instead, they got more worries, and a bureaucracy and red tape that has handcuffed users from day one. House Republicans are committed to fixing that. Americans, and small businesses, deserve health-care reform that is done the right way, for the right reasons, in the right amount of time. This is not about finding a quick fix. This is about developing a long-term solution that works for everyone. 

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