Washington needs to help, not “HIT” small businesses

Posted on May 28, 2015 by Kathy Hoekstra

The President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association writes that Congress is poised to help the nation's small businesses combat one devastating provision of the Affordable Care Act.

There is more outcry from America’s small businesses about the devastating impact of the Affordable Care Act’s  Health Insurance Tax, or “HIT.” As mentioned here previously, this is a sales tax on health insurance policies sold to individuals, working families, small businesses and seniors. This tax is the third largest imposed by the ACA, collecting $8 billion last year, $11 billion this year, leading up to $145 billion in the first ten years and $208 billion in the decade to follow.

The costs will inevitably be passed along to employers and employees, nearly $5,000 per family over a decade according to tCaduceushe Congressional Budget Office, and as much as $6,800 as predicted by an insurance industry study.

But for real impact, we encourage you to check out Katherine Lugar’s recent commentary in Roll Call titled “Could Washington Be Ready to Take Action for Small Businesses?” Lugar is the President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), whose members will be in a particularly tough spot due to the “HIT”:

“The hotel industry is proud of the benefits we offer our team members. In fact, the 2014 National Survey of Hotel Wages & Benefits found 85.9 percent of hotels offer medical insurance to hourly employees. However, with the implementation of the ACA, providing affordable health care coverage has become increasingly difficult.”

Lugar adds that efforts to express the difficulties this tax has placed on the hotel industry and small businesses in general seem to be paying off:

“Although promised as the opportunity for more affordable health care options, the small businesses in the hotel industry and across the economy are instead seeing costs rise. These hard-working men and women are looking to their elected officials to help level the playing field and fortunately, Congress is taking notice.”

She is referring to bills introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate to repeal the HIT.

It is easy for pundits and politicians to talk about government policy. But it is really business leaders who best understand and can talk about these policies’ impacts on people, paychecks and families. To read Katherine Lugar’s commentary in its entirety, click here.