One of the few good parts of the health care reform law was to make a cafeteria of plans and coverages available for small business employees. This was to be done by setting up insurance exchanges that worked like this.
Health insurance availability and cost are huge concerns for small businesses. They have less bargaining power than large companies and generally pay higher prices for insurance, if they can afford it at all.
The 2010 law stipulates that each state will have a Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP exchange, to help employers compare health plans and enroll their employees.
One of the most important tasks of the exchange is to simplify the collection and payment of monthly premiums. An employer can pay a lump sum to the exchange, which will then distribute the money to each insurance company covering its employees.
But Republican delays have set back the process.
Exchanges are scheduled to start enrolling people on Oct. 1, for coverage that begins in January. However, the administration said that the government and insurers needed “additional time to prepare for an employee choice model” of the type envisioned in the law signed three years ago by President Obama.
And the really neat thing, beside Mr. Obama getting blamed for the delay. These exchanges, using private insurance companies and competition is exactly what Republicans wanted, supported and probably would have implemented had they been in power.
If Mr. Obama proposed massive tax cuts for the wealthy would Republicans block that to avoid giving Mr. Obama any success? Don’t bet against it.