But like so many of the small businesses that the Romney campaign has trotted out in recent weeks, Tanya L. Burns & Associates, an insurance brokerage firm in Florida, is yet another beneficiary of federal spending. And not just any spending: Burns’ firm has helped clients reduce their health insurance premiums thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal.
In a 2011 article in the Orlando Business Journal, Burns appears dumbfounded — and pleasantly surprised — at the lower premiums some of her clients received when they renewed their insurance contracts:
Tanya Burns, a local insurance broker and the owner of Tanya L. Burns & Associates Inc., said when she got the renewal for First Baptist Church and another Osceola County church, both with a 1.5 percent decrease from Aetna, she thought something was wrong with her eyes. Then, in November, she had another company renew at a 5 percent decrease. “I called the girls in the office and told them we’re not going to call Aetna and ask any questions, but we’re going to frame this and put it up in our lobby.”
Since the passage of Obamacare in March 2010, millions of individual and business policy holders are now eligible to receive rebate checks from their insurance providers thanks to provisions that require 85 percent of premiums collected go towards medical claims. If that threshold is not reached, customers receive automatic rebates. Florida in particular had an exceptionally high number of customers scheduled to receive a cumulative $149 million in rebate checks this year.
During the Romney campaign’s recent “Built By Us” initiative, more than a dozen of the small businesses that the campaign sought to highlight have been found to contract with government agencies or receive taxpayer-funded small business grants and loans.