It’s time to repeal the misguided SB 110

Despite the claims of proponents of the Senate Bill 110 health insurance “reform” measure, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the effects of the legislation have not only been onerous but very likely have been tying the economic hands of small businesses across the state.

The problems associated with SB 110 are not new to readers of New Hampshire Business Review. By eliminating community rating, the measure has served to isolate small businesses whose owner or employees happen to have health problems, or are of a certain age or gender, are in certain industries – or even are located in particular areas of the state. The ultimate effect has been increases in insurance premiums for certain businesses – unfortunately, they are the vast majority of New Hampshire small businesses.

Those increases – from 50 percent to almost 200 percent — have been well documented in these pages.

While proponents of the measure insist that the legislation will eventually result in bringing competition to the health insurance market, the key problem with SB 110 is that it actually destroys competition. For instance, under the legislation, businesses in the very same industry, with the very same product or service, with the very same number of employees, may be hit with vastly different health premiums – in the thousands of dollars – simply because one of them happens to have an employee or owner who has an illness, or has a family member who has an illness.

The result? One business striving to make it in its industry is saddled with substantially greater costs than a direct competitor, simply because certain elected officials are trying to prove a point with a highly questionable – and cold-blooded — experiment in health-care market economics.

Repeal of SB 110 should be at the top of the agenda when the next Legislature begins its session. It also should be at the top of the agenda when small-business owners and employees enter the voting booth for both the September primary and the November general election.

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