Arizona’s job creators look warily at policy proposals that will increase health care costs. Recent data from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that nearly half of all small- business owners have little hope of business conditions improving in the next six months.
Employer-provided insurance delivers widespread access to health care for workers across all industries, business sizes, and their families. Employers not only offer high-quality coverage but also contribute directly to the cost. This helps increase access to affordable care for their employees. As a result, nearly half of Arizonans are covered by an employer-provided health care plan.
The question was posed recently on these pages why businesses large and small would oppose HB2290. The answer is simple: HB2290 will increase the cost of health care and add significant costs to Arizona taxpayers.
It’s worth noting that since HB2290 was introduced, more and more Arizonans are seeing the glaring deficiencies in this legislation. As of last week, no fewer than six business advocacy organizations had declared their opposition to this poorly crafted legislation.
Businesses of all sizes face the increasing cost of health care every year as they review the health benefits they offer to their employees. A new survey from NFIB found that a whopping 94% of local job creators “find it challenging to some degree for their business to manage the cost of offering employer-sponsored health insurance,” with almost half of small employers reportedly taking a lower profit or suffering a loss to pay for insurance premium increases in the past five years.
Bills like HB2290 are part of the reason health care costs continue to increase — more mandates on an already heavily regulated industry will result in increased costs to consumers. As businesses continue to face the challenge of finding and retaining quality staff members, they need to remain competitive. They do so by offering a host of benefits to their employees, including affordable health care coverage. This bill puts affordable health insurance in jeopardy.
HB2290 is a classic example of a solution in search of a problem. Strict rules are already in place governing the subjects of this legislation — claim denials, health care appeals and credentialing. There is no evidence of widespread violations of these laws or even a meaningful volume of complaints to the Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions. Issues that do exist can be addressed under the current law or simply by working together.
Instead, HB2290 proposes that we make Arizona’s system for addressing claims disputes more expensive for businesses and taxpayers and more complicated for everyone by inserting lawyers into medical decision making. We urge lawmakers to reject this proposal.
Cliff Wixson is the owner and CEO of Cliffco LLC.
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