The General Assembly's Insurance and Real Estate Committee held its first public hearing Feb. 7, taking up a number of bills would increase the cost of health insurance for small businesses.

In a time of growing federal uncertainty, the committee should focus on addressing costs and quality, two areas of critical concern to the state's smaller employers.

Healthcare spending in New EnglandThe committee considered seven bills proposing new mandates that will further drive up the cost of employer-sponsored health insurance plans.

Unfortunately, information about the long term costs and expected benefits of new healthcare mandates is often unavailable, making it difficult to understand the full impact on plan cost and quality.

Currently, the Office of Fiscal Analysis provides the only reporting on the costs of mandates, focusing just on the cost to the state.

OFA's reports do not account for the broader cost impact to small businesses or their employees, nor do they measure the impact on the quality of healthcare.

This is vital information that lawmakers must have when reviewing proposed mandates so they can make informed decisions.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council released its annual Small Business Policy Index this week. Connecticut ranked 43rd, listed among the 10 states having "the most anti-entrepreneur policy environments."

The cost of doing business and government regulations were key factors in that ranking.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Jennifer Herz (860.970.4404) | @CBIAjherz