NASE Reaction to the State of the Union Address

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NASE Reaction to the State of the Union Address

CONTACT:  Kristofer Eisenla, LUNA+EISENLA media | 202-670-5747 (mobile)

Two Small Business Owners in FLOTUS Box; President and Congress Must Work Together To Ensure Fairness in the Tax Code and Flexibility in Health Care

– As President Barack Obama delivers his final State of the Union Address, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), the nation’s leading advocate and resource for the self-employed and micro-business community, applauds him for making the small business community an important part of his address tonight: two small business owners are guests in the First Lady’s box, Mark Davis of Washington, D.C. and Ronna Rice of Greeley, CO.

The NASE offered the following reaction encouraging the Obama Administration and Congress to work together on tax reform and health care flexibility:

“America’s small business community, the self-employed and micro-businesses nationwide, have waited far too long for fairness and equity in the tax code,” said Keith Hall, President and CEO. “As millions of small businesses prepare to file their income taxes this coming April, now is the time to address comprehensive tax reform.  America’s businesses deserve reforms ensuring fairness, equity and simplification in our nation’s tax code. Any meaningful reform must include both changes to corporate rates as well as the individual tax rate. In order for the small businesses that line Main Streets across America to be robust and competitive, they must be treated equally like their corporate counterparts on Wall Street.”

“As our nation’s health care system comes into its own, we still have a crucial part of the program that must be addressed: health reimbursement arrangements,” Katie Vlietstra, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs. “An unintended consequence of health reform was the placement of unrealistic limitations on the use of HRAs. We encourage the Obama Administration to work with Congress to enact vital, bipartisan legislation to correct this gross oversight penalizing small businesses utilizing this important health care tool. American small businesses and the entire health care system are counting on our policymakers to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health care.” 

Sens. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have introduced bipartisan legislation, S-1697, the “Small Business Healthcare Relief Act”, which would allow an employer with fewer than 50 employees that does not offer group health insurance coverage to establish a health reimbursement arrangement. A bipartisan companion bill has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2911, by U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA).

Earlier this year, the Treasury Department announced that it is delaying the enforcement of the technical guidance issued in September 2013 regarding Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), a key health care tool for America’s smallest employers. HRAs have long-been used to help small business owners provide some level of financial support for their employees. As an unintended consequence of the ACA, the prohibition placed upon the use of HRAs is detrimental to small businesses and their employees across the country. The change resulted in a particularly negative impact on small employers with 49 or less employees that are under no legal obligation to provide a qualified healthcare plan for their employees under the employer mandate of the ACA. 

When the technical guidance was issued, NASE submitted a draft response illustrating its affect on the small business community. Earlier this year, Vlietstra penned an op-ed on this health care situation for The Hill’s Congress Blog.


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 Small Business Locator helps identify and connect our nation’s smallest businesses. In addition, NASE’s new health care portal helps small business owners navigate the nation’s health care marketplace. 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 website at

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