Small business owners from throughout the state who say the Affordable Care Act has resulted in drastic increases in the cost to insure their employees joined U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden Wednesday to decry the legislation, while McFadden himself acknowledged relief likely wouldn’t come quickly.

“These aren’t just numbers, they’re affecting real people,” McFadden said, standing in front of greenhouse proprietors, ski resort owners and others. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t have a conversation with a small business owner who shares with me their exacerbation about health care costs.”

The Sunfish Lake businessman is running against Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who voted for and is a vocal ACA supporter.

Dan Raedeke, President of Wild Mountain Ski Area in Taylors Falls, said the implementation of the ACA will cause their insurance rate increases to jump by 30 percent to a total cost of $100,000 to insure 15 families.

“I read in the paper sometimes that people are saying this is working, but it’s not working for the working class,” he said.

According to McFadden, Faribault-based Donahue Greenhouse saw an $80,000 budget increase to afford a high-deductible plan for 22 employees.

Mike Hickey, Minnesota State Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, cited a survey of 233 licensed health insurance agents, who service 2,454 businesses that showed a rate increase for 74 percent of the small businesses, while 26 percent had a decrease.

One month ago, McFadden proposed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act in favor of open-border optional state-based exchanges—meaning states can decide whether to mandate health care—including the option for businesses to pool their resources to keep healthcare costs down. He defended the proposal as more effective than the principles of the Affordable Care Act because businesses would have the opportunity to buy insurance across state lines.

McFadden said that, if elected, he would push for provisions currently existing under the ACA to move authorization to the states, allowing them to address increasing rates, though he didn’t elaborate how the states would do that.

McFadden said that under his plan, he said, states would operate like “laboratories for experiments.”

“If a state wants to have a mandate they can have a mandate. If they don’t want to have a mandate they don’t have to have a mandate, and see what that impact is on the cost of insurance and the cost of healthcare,” he said. “What we can do instead of having a one size fits all, which is what we have right now with Obamacare, we’ll have 50 different examples of what can be done…What I don’t expect is that the federal government’s going to be able to do this in an efficient way that will drive down costs.”
 

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