Did you know that one out of every five jobs in North Dakota is supported by retail? There are about 10,600 retail businesses in the state contributing roughly $6.4 billion annually to the GDP. I’m pointing this out because failure to keep the retail sector healthy will truly harm North Dakota’s economy.
That’s why North Dakota Retail Association members are speaking out against the health insurance tax, which is scheduled to hit small businesses again in 2018. The state’s business owners received a break from this terrible sales tax on company health plans in 2017, but the freeze was only temporary. Without action by Congress, the health insurance tax will automatically return Jan. 1.
If you haven’t gotten your insurance quote yet, you will be shocked. The health insurance tax is bad news. It’s a big financial HIT to local businesses. The most recent estimates say shopkeepers and other small businesses will pay $500 more per employee on their health plan just to cover the tax. With the cost of doing business continuing to rise in all sectors of the economy, now is the wrong time to drive employer health care costs even higher. We need to keep this money turning over on our main streets where it can do the most good.
Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp have been looking into realistic ways to stabilize the insurance market and bring costs down. I think we can all agree that adding a tax directly on health insurance would be counterproductive, so the first step in any health care solution must be to put off this tax again or better yet, kill it entirely.
North Dakotans need to call Hoeven and Heitkamp to delay this tax and get both sides together to finally fix health care.
Mike Rud, Bismarck