Affordable Healthcare for Small Businesses


Providing affordable health insurance to employees continues to challenge small businesses. At stake in the debate over repealing and/or replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is whether small businesses will continue to have access to small employer pools, known as state exchanges. Any legislative efforts to revamp the ACA must include a mechanism for small employers to pool together to purchase insurance. Without a pool, small businesses will once again be left on their own to find coverage for their employees. 

AEO supports access to affordable healthcare for our small businesses and their employees.  

In March, after passage by the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, the House Budget Committee passed a merged version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a slim margin of 19 to 17 through the budget reconciliation process. Budget reconciliation is limited by The Byrd Rule, which prevents any provisions considered during the budget reconciliation process that could have non-incidental budgetary effects. Thus, only portions of the bill involving the budget could be considered.  

The bill then went to the House Rules Committee, where they decided to apply the “same-day” rule, allowing the House to begin debate on the health bill on the same day. However, a vote was never held.

In June, Senate Republicans released their discussion draft health care bill, “The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017." The bill received opposition from both sides of the aisle and never received a vote.

In late July, after voting to proceed with healthcare debate, the Senate voted on a “skinny” repeal that would partially repeal the Affordable Care Act. The bill needed 50 votes to pass, but failed with a vote of 49-51, with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) joining Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and all Democrats in voting against it.