Too much government oversight is a common complaint heard by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House Majority Whip, when speaking to small business owners. Too much regulation slows down the economy and forces jobs to go overseas, he said Thursday at the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America Inc. legislative conference in Washington, D.C.

“This is the fight that we have all the time, and it shouldn’t be the fight that we have,” said Scalise. “But it’s the biggest challenge we face.”

The Affordable Care Act is a major concern to employers, he said — the Cadillac tax in particular. “That’s something that is gonna ultimately make it hard for people to provide the good health care that they provide to their employees,” he added. 

Also see: Cadillac tax remains top-priority concern for employers

However, Scalise said the U.S. Supreme Court could give legislators a chance to fix the ACA should it rule that subsidies to buy health insurance are illegal in states that use the federally facilitated marketplace. The high court is expected to hand down its ruling in King v. Burwell in June.

Also see: An in-depth look at King v. Burwell

Scalise is hopeful SCOTUS will rule in favor of the plaintiffs — four Virginia residents. “What that will do is provide a great opportunity for Congress to come back and replace what is broken with a real free market reform,” he said.

Current regulation system works

A regulation system that has no need for debate is the current state-based model that regulates the insurance industry, said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D). “The vibrancy of this industry is really what has been created out of a system that allows competition, a system that has minimal amounts of regulation, and a system that relies on all of you to sit down across the table with your neighbors … and devise a risk mitigation plan for their family,” she said.

“The federal government needs to be very, very, very careful when they interfere with that longstanding and successful structure,” Heitkamp added.

Heitkamp, who serves on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, praised the agents in attendance for their work. “You are important to the American economy,” she said. “You are important to the American family.”

The industry is facing some real challenges, Heitkamp said. In the next 20 years, there could be a retirement and health care crisis, she said, as people are living longer. That’s why Washington, D.C. needs to have a “long view” and cease partisan bickering, Heitkamp said. “We need to fix today’s problems and … with those fixings of today’s problems think about what we need to do for tomorrow.” 

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access