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Washington Watch - July 22, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

 Health Reform Divides Congress

House lawmakers are threatening to walk away from discussions on the massive health care overhaul being debated in Congress. A group of fiscally conservative Democrats, called the Blue Dog Coalition, have indicated thy will push back on negotiations until their concerns on a tax on the wealthy being used as a revenue raiser are addressed. Last week, over 20 Democrats wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi worrying that the tax would inadvertently hurt the self-employed and micro-businesses.

Spokespersons for the health legislation circulating in the House Ways and Means Committee say that less than 5 percent of small businesses would be hit by the tax. In their letter, the lawmakers argue nearly two-thirds of households filing tax forms with an adjusted gross income above $250,000 filed as some type of small business entity.

"Especially in a recession, we need to make sure not to kill the goose that will lay the golden eggs of our recovery," the group remarks in the letter. "By concentrating the cost of health care reform in one area, and in one that will negatively affect small businesses, we are concerned that this will discourage entrepreneurial activity."

The Chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition's Health Care Task Force, Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), said the group is working on between 12-24 amendments to the current legislation.

Visit the NASE Staff Blog for the latest take on health reform by Kristie Arslan, Executive Director of the Legislative Office.


 Small Business Groups, Realtors Join NASE To Ask Legislators To Remember Self-Employed

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has teamed up with the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the National Small Business Association (NSBA) and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) to ask Congress to address the high health care costs affecting America’s self-employed workforce as part of health reform legislation. 

 

In letters to members of the United States House of Representatives, the groups remind representatives that, “With over 22 million individuals, the self-employed are a significant portion of the American workforce. As a result of their individual small size, they have been hit particularly hard by the skyrocketing health care costs, forcing many of them to become uninsured. In a 2008 study, the National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) found that 20 percent of the nation’s self-employed have no health coverage. In certain industries, such as real estate, that percentage is even higher.”

 

The letter asks legislators to help the self-employed by refraining from forcing individuals to buy coverage they cannot afford, making the tax treatment of health care equitable for all employers, opposing a mandate on all employers to provide coverage, and promoting transparency and efficiency in obtaining health coverage.

 

The NASE has been vocal in its belief that every American should have access to affordable health care, but that many of the mandates and reforms currently under discussion will have unintended consequences on the self-employed. 

 

For more information on the NASE’s efforts on Capitol Hill including copies of letters sent to Congress, visit here.


 Small Biz Health Care Roundup

The latest reform debate is centering around small businesses and reform package cost estimates: 

 



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