The Richmond Register

Local News

August 27, 2013

Hearing reveals uncertainty, worry surrounding health care law

Lectrodryer CEO testifies to members of Congress

LEXINGTON — The CEO of a Madison County manufacturer told members of Congress on Tuesday he feared the Affordable Care Act would lead to a deterioration of benefits for his employees as well as workers at for other small businesses.

John McPhearson, who acquired control of Lectrodryer LLC with a partner in 2001, testified at a Congressional field hearing in Lexington. The hearing was titled “Health Care Challenges Facing Kentucky’s Workers and Job Creators.”

Lectrodryer is the largest manufacturer of liquid dryers in this hemisphere and is the principle supplier to chemical processing plants and oil refineries, according to a news release about the hearing.

McPhearson explained during his five-minute testimony that he was in favor of all Americans having heath insurance. He said his company provides excellent health care coverage to its 63 full-time employees for which his firm pays about $3.68 an hour per employee.

Lectrodryer also employs 70 others who are either temporary workers, co-op students or interns, McPhearson said.

However, premiums for the plans offered to employees by their employers are projected to skyrocket for the next year, according to several of the business owners on the two panels at the congressional hearing. Several of them blamed this on the health care reform act, often called Obamacare.

Most of the act’s provisions go into effect Jan. 1.

McPhearson said he has seen health insurance premium costs go up during the past 12 years while the quality of the plans have gone down. He’s afraid the trend will be exacerbated under Obamacare.

“We feel coverage will deteriorate,” McPhearson said.

He noted that the top plan that will be offered to Kentuckians through the new Health Exchange Marketplace is still not as good as what he offers his employees as Lectrodryer.

McPhearson said he was concerned that plans offered by insurance companies to individuals through the state health insurance exchange might become the “de facto” plans offered to everyone, including by employers.

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