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Health Reform: More Of The Same From House Lawmakers

Bill Lacks Meaningful And Timely Aid For Small Business Health Costs

Washington, D.C., November 10, 2009 – The House narrowly passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) this weekend and now the Senate will be the new ground zero for health reform debate. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) was dismayed to see that lawmakers have once again failed to include provisions that will make a noticeable difference in the bottom line of the nation’s millions of self-employed business owners.

 

According to NASE’s June 2008 study, “Health Coverage: A Micro-Business Perspective,” one-third of self-employed individuals are currently uninsured, with cost being the primary reason for their lack of insurance. Furthermore, the study showed a massive drop in employer-sponsored coverage amongst micro-businesses, those businesses with fewer than ten employees. In 2008 only 18.6 percent offered health insurance to their employees, down from 46.2 percent in 2005. The primary reason for dropping group health coverage was again, cost.

 

“In this difficult economic time, reform should make accessing health coverage easier and more affordable for small business,” said Kristie Arslan, executive director of the NASE’s legislative offices. “It seems the legislation passed by the House will likely make it more difficult, and worse, more costly for our nation's entrepreneurs to obtain health coverage.”

 

Arslan notes that, while the bill’s small business and individual tax credit provisions sound good on paper, in reality they will not take effect for at least three more years, in 2013. Additionally, the credit can only be applied towards health coverage purchased through the new Exchange or health marketplace the bill creates, forcing many self-employed business owners to choose between keeping the coverage they currently have or dropping that coverage to obtain financial assistance with skyrocketing health costs.

 

Read Arslan’s entire commentary, titled “House Democrats Eke Out A Victory On Health Reform,” on the NASE Staff Blog.

 

While the Senate will cull together its own vision of reform, the House version of the legislation gives a preview of what might be in a final reform bill. The NASE will continue its efforts to push for tangible, immediate cost saving measures to be included in a final health reform package. For more information on the NASE’s recommendations, please visit NASE in Action.

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