Commentary

Melinda Moulton: Health care disarray hampers small businesses’ ability to plan

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Melinda Moulton, of Huntington, who is CEO of Main Street Landing.

I am the CEO of a small development company in Burlington. We are committed to creating buildings and landscapes that are beautiful and fun environments that appeal to and welcome everyone. We are committed to creating with a focus on environmentally and socially conscious projects. We are also committed to creating financial viability in our work.

Any small business CEO or owner will tell you the key to business success is proper planning. We would not be able to uphold these commitments to our community, our state and our values, without proper planning. In fact, most of our work is planning so that execution is smooth. Not only do we need to be able to plan our budgets well in advance, we plan rental of our meeting spaces and film house, we plan the ways in which we will use our advertising dollars to give back to our community and promote our office and retail spaces, and we plan how to best support our small staff so that they may lead healthy lives and continue to participate in a thriving Vermont economy.

However, the chaos in Congress makes it impossible for the business I manage to plan its health care expenses. We have eight employees on payroll, and we provide them all quality health care insurance. First, Republicans in the House and Senate proposed a bill that would raise premiums by an average of $2,294 a year. Now they say they want to repeal the ACA outright without a replacement, which the Congressional Budget Office says would double premiums in just a number of years. How are we, business owners and managers, supposed to plan expenses when we have no idea how much we will need to spend on health care for our employees?

I am not alone with my concerns. Over 70 percent of Americans think that the uncertainty with health care policy in this country hurts everyday Americans, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.

Small businesses need certainty in this economy. All we are getting from Congress on health care is chaos. Instead, we need a carefully considered bipartisan effort that improves access to quality health care for all at an affordable and consistent cost — or better yet — let’s move to a single payer, universal health care model and join most other world-class countries across the globe by making sure all Americans have quality health care.

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  • bob Zeliff

    It has been the strategy of Republicans to destabilize Obama care to make it difficult and an a failure. To this end they have been very effective in causing uncertainty with all the repeal and replace. How does an insurance company’s actuaries deal with a highly uncertain payment (including subsidies) from their customers. In Several states, they have withdrawn Obama care coverage . This is exactly what the Republicans want…so they can claim failure.
    This is NOT to say Obama care does not have flaws that need to be corrected. It certainly does.
    I highly doubt, that republican goals have change since their “repeal and replace” has failed. They will continue to attack and degrade Obama care at every turn. They care nothing about health care for all.
    They want Obama care moneys to go to tax breaks for the wealthy, their true constituants.

    I would love “Medicare for All”. We can not achieve that in Vermont by ourselves.

    Let us all push for Universal Primary Care for all Vermonters. We can achieve that H248 and S53 are already drafted. Tell your legislator to vote for them this next session.

  • David Dempsey

    Melinda,
    Excellent commentary. I have said the same thing since Governor Shumlin was elected and he embarked on a 4 year quest to institute a doomed from the beginning single payer system for Vermont. Why would any company even consider a move to Vermont when they have no way to create a budget for health care benefits because it was impossible to get any information about costs. I saw no concern about this from anybody in the legislature or administration. You don’t need to be brain surgeon to understand that this was killing economic development in Vermont.