NASE Supports Introduction Of Small Business CHOICE Act Of 2009

For Immediate Release: Contact:    Kristin Oberlander
(202) 466-2100
Twitter: koberlander

Bill Would Help Stabilize Health Insurance Costs for Self-Employed

Washington, D.C., February 9, 2009 – The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) commends the introduction of the Small Business “Cooperative for Healthcare Options to Improve Coverage for Employees Act of 2009” (Small Business “CHOICE” Act). The bi-partisan health care legislation would increase access to comprehensive health insurance and help alleviate the instability of insurance premium costs.

“As Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee, I have seen firsthand the need for this bill. The bill tackles two of the most significant challenges facing small employers – the high cost of providing comprehensive health insurance and the volatility of insurance premiums,” said Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO).

The “CHOICE” Act would allow small businesses to form health insurance cooperatives governed by state laws. These cooperatives, similar to risk pools, would provide insurance against high-cost claims. The bill also offers a refundable tax credit to small businesses that choose to join a cooperative. The tax credit would cover 65 percent of the cost of insurance for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees that also offered a small business wellness program consisting of lifestyle management and wellness tools. The bill would also help self-employed individuals save up to $5,000 per year on health coverage costs

“The NASE strongly supports the CHOICE Act of 2008,” said Kristie Darien, executive director of the National Association for the Self-Employed’s legislative office. “We believe that this bill would help alleviate the massive financial burden that the current health care system places on micro-business.”

According to a 2008 NASE study, the percentage of micro-business owners who offer a plan that covers all or some of their full-time employees dropped significantly, from 46.2% in 2005 to only 18.6% in 2008. Three-quarters of micro-business owners also report that they have seen the cost of health coverage increase by an average of 14.7% over the past 12 months.

About the NASE
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation's leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, bringing a broad range of benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed and to drive the continued growth of this vital segment of the American economy. The NASE is a 501(c) (6) nonprofit organization and provides big-business advantages to hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses across the United States. For more information, visit the association's Web site at