Rogers: 'A lot of people will go uninsured'
by David Atchison
Jan 21, 2014 | 2490 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Crisp/The Daily Home
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U.S. Representative Mike Rogers toured the Ford Meter Box Company plant in Pell City Tuesday morning. Matthew Cence shows Rogers a piece of equipment the company makes.
Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers toured the Ford Meter Box Company plant in Pell City Tuesday morning. Matthew Cence shows Rogers a piece of equipment the company makes.
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PELL CITY – U.S. Representative Mike Rogers visited three industries in St. Clair County Tuesday, hearing concerns from his constituents during his week away from Washington, D.C.

“The number one concern I’m hearing about is the Affordable Healthcare Act,” Rogers said during his visit at Ford Meter Box Company in Pell City. “A lot of companies are going to see their healthcare costs go up.”

Rogers visited Ford Meter Box and Royal Sausage in Pell City, and Buckner Barrel in Springville.

Jim Ford, the human resource director for Ford Meter Box, expressed concerns about the uncertainties of higher healthcare costs for the 116-year-old company.

“There could be a heck of an effect on us and our employees,” he said.

He said the plant in Pell City, which has about 114 employees, saw a 10 percent increase in healthcare costs last year and is expecting another 30 percent increase this year.

“I’m surprise it’s only 30 percent,” Rogers said. “I expected more.”

Rogers said many companies are going to see their healthcare go up 100 percent this fall, forcing some businesses to choose not to participate in group healthcare plans for their employees. Employees would have to turn to the healthcare marketplace to get insurance.

“A lot of people will go uninsured,” he said.

Rogers said there are companies in his Congressional District that pay for most of the healthcare costs for their employees, 85-95 percent of the cost, but if a competitor chooses not continue group insurance, their company is at a financial disadvantage. That company could eventually be forced to discontinue group insurance for their employees so it can compete with companies in the same industry.

“We are terrified at what could happen,” Rogers said.

He said businesses and employees will start seeing new healthcare costs this summer and fall.

“People will have the initial sticker shock,” he said.

Rogers said what has happened to federal employees will now happen to private sector employees.

He said the healthcare cost for his family is three times more now, while the deductible is three-times more.

“It’s going to be a different world,” Rogers said.

Rogers said he was against high regulatory penalties set by federal agencies, instead of Congress.

“There are some huge penalties and Congress didn’t have a say in it,” he said.

He said penalties are established by administrative rules, but he supports legislation that if a rule, which imposes a penalty, is passed by rule that it must be brought to Congress first before it is imposed.

Rogers also said he opposes unions in Alabama industries. He said unions are detrimental to companies, like Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln.

He said unions would hurt industries and workers instead of helping them, pointing to the good pay and benefits employees now have with companies in his district.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com