A manufacturing CEO told lawmakers on Wednesday that costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act had negatively impacted his company's ability to hire new workers, make capital investments, and develop new products.
Joe Eddy, president and CEO of Eagle Manufacturing Company, testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade association that represents more than 12 million Americans.
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"Manufacturers appreciate your attention to the burdens of the Affordable Care Act that are impacting the competitiveness and growth of manufacturers around the nation," Eddy said.
Eddy said it had always been his priority as the president of a family-owned business to provide health insurance for his employees. His business traditionally covered 100 percent of medical costs, but Obamacare made that more difficult.
In 2009, the company paid about $13,500 per year per employee for health insurance, Eddy said, but today it pays more than $22,800 per year per employee—an increase of $9,300. Taxes, paperwork, fees, and mandates cost the business $1,000 per year per employee.
"Rising health care costs impact all facets of any company—hiring new workers, maintaining competitive pay rates, and making capital investments as well as researching and developing new products," he said. "I know that my struggle is not unique and that other manufacturers around the country are facing the same challenges."
Another business owner cited similar concerns at the hearing. Scott Bollenbacher, a managing partner of the certified public accounting firm Bollenbacher and Associates, spoke on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Business, a group that represents 325,000 businesses.
Bollenbacher said his company offered high-deductible health insurance plans and funded up to $3,000 per year in health savings accounts for employees from 2004 to 2014.
"During that period, our premiums increased eight to 12 percent annually," Bollenbacher said. "These premium increases impacted raises and rates but were manageable."
"In late 2014, our benefits consultant informed us that our policy no longer qualified under the Affordable Care Act because it did not cover the entire Essential Health Benefits package," he said. "We lost our plan."
Bollenbacher said the company evaluated its options and chose another plan, but were disappointed when the carrier said it would no longer offer self-funded plans and proposed to raise premiums 156 percent.
"The experience has been frustrating and stressful," Bollenbacher said. "The increases and cancellations are unsustainable for small businesses."
Tevi Troy, CEO of the American Health Policy Institute, a group that examines the impact of health policy on large employers, also testified at the hearing. Troy described how regulations and costs from Obamacare have negatively impacted businesses.
"In 2014, an American Health Policy Institute study found that over the next decade, the cost of the Affordable Care Act to large U.S. employers (10,000 or more employees) will be $4,800 to $5,900 per employee, and over the same time period, the total cost of the ACA to all large U.S. employers will be $151 billion to $186 billion," he said.
"Since the ACA was enacted, 106 regulations implementing the law have been published," Troy explained. "These regulations will cost the private sector more than $51 billion and require 173 million hours of paperwork in order to comply."