The House’s top investigators have put Vermont and the District of Columbia on notice that they are not pleased with their decision to force small employers to purchase health plans through an insurance market established by President Obama’s health care law.
Both jurisdictions have small populations, and city officials in the nation’s capital reasoned that its health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act would be more viable if they mandate firms with less than 50 employers to purchase insurance alongside the individual market. The definition of a “small business” is slated to increase to 100 employees or fewer in 2016.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, said the D.C. Council tentatively approved the exchange board’s plan despite objections from more than 150 small business, according to a letter he sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The committee also sent letters to officials in the District and Vermont. The latter cited concerns from the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, which said it would prefer that the exchange was simply “an option for business.”
“At a minimum,” Mr. Issa told Mrs. Sebelius, “we request that you use your authority to ensure that all exchanges comply with the provisions in [the health care law] that ensure that individuals and employers have the freedom to enter into contracts outside of a regulated government-created bureaucracy.”