Small Talk: Healthcare debate heats up
The healthcare debate is just starting to heat up for small business owners. FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters sister publication, has a nice blog post titled “Healthcare reform & small business: 3 bills explained,” in which they break down Obama’s “Affordable Health Care for American Act” legislation, that was approved by a slim majority of 220-215 by the House over the weekend.
In general the reaction by small business to the Obama legislation has been largely negative, with the most damning attacks coming from small business lobby groups, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Small Business Association. In a Wall Street Journal story, titled “Small Business Crunches Numbers“, NFIB senior VP Susan Eckerly said the bill’s “punitive employer mandates and atrocious new taxes will force small business owners to eliminate jobs and freeze expansion plans at a time when our nation’s economy needs small business to thrive.”
Denver Business Journal reporter Kent Hoover examined the bill from a small business perspective in his article “How small business fares under health-reform bill“. In it Hoover said that while the majority of small businesses oppose the legislation, some support it because “they think the insurance market needs the bill’s reforms, such as barring insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions,” wrote Hoover, adding: “Plus, they think providing a government-run option in new health insurance exchanges would bring needed competition to the insurance market.”
Here’s a roundup of how politicians on both sides view the legislation:
– Democratic Congressman Jerry McNerney (Pleasanton, California) voted for the bill, because he explained that “as a former self-employed small business owner, I’ve personally experienced the effect of rising health care costs and the burden these costs place on our families and small businesses.” McNerney added the new legislation will “improve benefits and quality of care for seniors, help small businesses to stay open and operating, and stop insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions or kicking sick people off their plans.” Read McNerney’s full statement here.
– Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler (Versailles, Kentucky) voted against the bill, telling the Lexington Herald-Leader: “I do not believe it is the best course of action for the people of Central Kentucky, specifically our working families, small businesses, and seniors.” Chandler said he was concerned that the new bill “would not adequately protect our rural hospitals and our small businesses — the engines of job creation.” Read Chandler’s full interview here.
– Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner (New York, NY) released his own “Top 10″ list of reasons he voted for the bill, most of them tailored to his New York City constituents. In the Epoch Times story Weiner said the new Act helps small businesses that already provide health insurance, because they “will receive a tax credit over a two-year period, and small businesses with 25 employees or less with wages of less than $40,000 a year will qualify for tax credits up to half the cost of providing insurance.” Weiner added that 204,200 small businesses in NYC will be able to qualify for the tax credits.
– Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia) voted against the bill because, as she told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, it “will cost well over a trillion dollars, raise taxes on job-creating small businesses and cut nearly $400 billion from Medicare and Medicaid.”