Members of Congress and witnesses talked here today about the difficulty of helping employees of small businesses get health coverage without making small group market problems even worse.
Helping more employees of small businesses get health coverage is important, because “that’s where half the uninsured are,” Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said at a committee hearing on small group health insurance reform.
“Some may be thinking that we should be bolder,” Baucus said. “Believe me, I understand the need for broad reform.”
But senators and witnesses noted that bold reforms could backfire by driving up overall costs or causing one type of plan to siphon small groups with younger, healthier members away from some other type of plan.
To reform the system, “do we to use the scalpel or the sledgehammer?” asked Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
Whatever the reforms are, “reforms should be structured in such a way as to not undermine the efforts of small employers who do provide coverage to their workers,” testified Linda Blumberg, a researcher at the Urban Institute, Washington.