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October 30, 2013

On eve of visit, business group urges reconsideration of Mass. waiver

BOSTON - President Barack Obama will be in Boston today to cheerlead the national health reform law he based on the Massachusetts experience, but one business group that played a prominent role in the development of the state’s 2006 access law says some of the national reforms are threatening the state’s efforts.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts wrote a letter to the White House yesterday urging the Obama administration to reconsider Gov. Deval Patrick’s request for a waiver from new rules that will change the way insurance carriers calculate premiums for Massachusetts businesses.

Obama will be at Faneuil Hall this afternoon to trumpet the benefits for states around the country through the embattled Affordable Care Act. The White House has held Massachusetts out as an example for what can be achieved with the ACA, despite the early stumbles with the troubled rollout of the national online insurance purchasing website.

However, A.I.M. President Richard Lord said two “small provisions” of the federal law have the potential to drive up premiums for some small businesses by more than 50 percent. Instead of dovetailing with the efforts already underway in Massahusetts, Lord said, key provisions of the ACA “threaten to accelerate the already burdensome cost of health insurance.”

“Although we were pleased to be the model for rest of the country, the member employers of AIM respectfully urge you to reconsider Governor Patrick’s waiver request and allow our commonwealth to continue the laudable progress it has made to control health costs for employers and consumers. We would very much like the Affordable Care Act to live up to its name,” A.I.M. President Richard Lord said.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts participated in the development of the 2006 health care reform law in Massachusetts that brought employers, doctors, hospitals, insurers and political leaders to the table to address problems with access to affordable health care.

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