Press Conference on the Health Insurance Reform
Jonathan Ortmans, President, Public Forum Institute
Yesterday at a press conference at the Capitol, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., discussed the effects skyrocketing health care costs on small businesses and how health care reform can help ease economic pressure on small businesses.
Referring to the study by the White House Council of Economic Advisers released last Saturday, Sen. Landrieu said: “Because of skyrocketing premiums, when owners are faced with the choice of cutting employees or cutting health insurance, the insurance is the first to go.” The number of affected businesses is estimated to be 27 million, which together employ 50 percent of the American workforce.
The measures advocated at the event were:
• An effective insurance exchange system to give small business employees more choices and stability for less money;
• Tax equity, including a tax credit for businesses that provide insurance to help ease the burden;
• And, insurance mandates that don’t penalize small firms that want to provide health insurance but can’t.
“I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to improve existing proposals to ensure the right kind of reform for our small businesses,” concluded Sen. Landrieu.
Terry Gardiner, National Policy Director of the Small Business Majority, and Mark Derbyshire, owner of Park Moving and Storage, also participated in the press conference along with the Democratic Senators to advocate giving small businesses consideration in the health care reform debates in Congress.
For audio of some of the participants’ comments on the health care concerns of small businesses, click here.