For decades, the Ohio Chamber has fought against health insurance mandates. (In fact, take a look at our positions on HB 80 & HB 138 from our January 27, 1989, Legislative Update. Even then – almost 30 years ago! – we were opposed.) Consistently, one of the public policy goals contained in our biennial legislative agenda is to oppose new health care mandates. Sometimes we win these battles, sometimes we lose. But once the state piles on another mandate, it’s businesses that bear the financial brunt of these mandates – particularly small businesses.

As of this week, however, relief is in sight. That’s because there’s finally a bill that will provide some protection against future mandates. That bill is House Bill 450, and it was introduced on Tuesday by Rep. Niraj Antani.

HB 450 would accomplish this by ensuring that already existing mandates and their costs are periodically reviewed, by providing health insurance purchasers with additional transparency, by making sure other potential solutions to coverage gaps – besides another mandate – are considered, and by putting some common-sense guardrails around future mandates.

Health care costs are a top concern in just about any recent survey of business leaders. And each new mandated benefit puts upwards pressure on health insurance premiums, ultimately making health insurance even less affordable and accessible for many Ohioans. At the very least, HB 450 will allow us to educate lawmakers about the unintended consequences of government-imposed health care coverage mandates.

The Ohio Chamber worked closely with Rep. Antani on drafting this mandate relief legislation. It will be one of the Ohio Chamber’s top legislative priorities when the General Assembly returns to work following its holiday break.

In the meantime, please join us in thanking Rep. Niraj Antani for introducing HB 450 to provide #MandateRelief.