Ohio House working in response to Obamacare

As a legislator, father, and employee at a small business, I can’t think of an issue more detrimental to our fundamental freedoms than the so-called Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. It seems the more we find out about the law, the more concerns it raises. Whether your concerns are the intrusions into your privacy, the soaring cost of health premiums, losing your choice of physician, having your small business socked with penalties, or the potential to explode our national debt into outer space, Obamacare has it all.

We saw much of this coming. In 2011, Ohioans made it clear that they opposed the kind of healthcare system Obamacare represents by voting overwhelmingly for Issue 3 on the ballot – “The Ohio Healthcare Freedom Act.” Earlier this year, I was proud to jointly sponsor with Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.) House Bill 91, a bill that takes the necessary steps towards minimizing Obamacare’s devastating effects on Ohio’s small businesses and families. “Health Care Freedom 2.0” is about reclaiming our ability to choose (for ourselves and our small businesses) the plan that makes the most sense financially and provides the best care.

Back in 2010, to garner the Senate votes needed to pass the ACA, language was inserted at the last minute that guaranteed states would retain the right to regulate insurance within their boundaries. I believe that makes a lot of sense. Standing up and defending state sovereignty is critical to our system of government.

Under Obamacare, individuals are required to have health coverage. If they don’t need it, they or their employers will face a penalty (or tax). A business that is unable to afford the federal government’s healthcare mandates will have to pay for it anyway, or pay the penalty (tax). Facing this situation, often the employer will have to lay off workers, or cut back hours, to reduce its number of full time employees. If you have good employees, you want to increase their hours, but this law provides a financial disincentive to do so.

House Bill 91 essentially prohibits any health insurance issuer in Ohio from accepting federal subsidies or credits for an individual that will later result in penalties against an employer or employee. If an insurance company proceeds to accept the subsidies and pass them on, they will no longer be considered “in good standing” in Ohio for the purpose of underwriting insurance through the federal exchange. HB 91 has 19 cosponsors in the House and is currently in the House Health & Aging Committee.

In April, the Ohio House took another step to minimize the effects of Obamacare by passing a resolution urging Congress and the president to repeal the portion of the law that implements a tax on companies that produce medical devices. More than 22,000 Ohioans are employed in the medical device manufacturing industry, so a tax on the companies that hire them could mean lost jobs for those workers. Every Republican and nearly half of all Democrats in the House voted in favor of the resolution, which tells me this is an issue that concerns members on both sides of the aisle.

The goal of House Bill 91 and the resolution is to preserve the healthcare freedom of Ohioans, but also to make it known that the entire healthcare industry is going to be profoundly (and very negatively) affected by Obamacare.

Rep. Thompson may be reached by calling (614) 644-8728, e-mailing Rep95@ohiohouse.gov, or writing to State Rep. Andy Thompson, 77 South High St., Columbus, Ohio, 43215.