The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Larry McNeely, Health Care Advocate
(202) 546-9707

Health Care Repeal Would Have Costly Consequences for Consumers and Small Businesses


Consumers and small
businesses will face significantly higher insurance premiums and could see
costly coverage denials and price discrimination if efforts to repeal the
federal health care law prevail in Congress or in the courts, according to The
Cost of Repeal: Examining the Impact
on Consumers and Small Businesses of Repealing the New Federal Health Care
a new report released today by the U.S. Public Interest
Research Group (U.S. PIRG).

According to the report, in the short term, repeal
would strip tax credits from over four million small businesses. And over the
longer term, the cost of offering employer-based health insurance could jump
by more than $3000 a year over current law.

"In today's economy, the higher costs
that would result from repeal are the last thing that America's
consumers and businesses need," said Larry McNeely, U.S. PIRG's
Health Care Advocate.

The new
U.S. PIRG report
draws on data from independent sources, including the
nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, other government agencies, business
groups and health analysts, and finds the following:

  • Repealing the new state health
    insurance exchange would drive premiums on the individual market up to 20%
    higher for the same coverage by 2016.
  • Without the new law's
    insurance reforms, the more than 57 million Americans who have pre-existing
    conditions, ranging from asthma to cancer, will continue to face coverage
    denials and price discrimination when purchasing their own insurance.
  • If the insurance reforms are
    repealed, women will continue to pay higher prices than men for health
  • Rolling back last year's
    law would drive up employer health costs, resulting in 4.5 million less jobs
    per year by the end of the decade.
  • Outright repeal would terminate
    establishment or expansion of 8200 community health centers across the

The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to
consider a repeal bill later this month. And Washington's intensely partisan debate
over health care threatens to spill over to the nation's state Capitols
as the Governor and state legislators consider key implementation decisions.

Cost of Repeal
recommends a set of pro-active policy
changes on which supporters and opponents of last year's health care
law should be able to find common ground. These include:

1. Using
the substantial authority which states have under current law to design a
health insurance exchange that is adapted to meet the needs of our
state's markets, consumers, and businesses.

2. Taking
additional steps to contain health care costs, like using information
technology to ensure that doctors receive the latest research about which
treatments are most effective - at the patient's bedside.

3. Cracking
down on balance-billing, a practice whereby hospitals or providers accept
payment from a patient's insurance plan, then charge additional
amounts-above and beyond the usual co-pays and cost sharing.

"Before our elected officials join this
headlong rush to repeal, they should consider the consequences and look for
solutions that hold down costs, not increase them," said McNeely.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.