Small-Business Groups Find Little Common Ground on Healthcare Reform
Small and medium printing businesses confronting the rising costs of employee health insurance may be able to relate to these stories of other small firms facing the same uphill struggle.
By Patrick Henry
Published: June 11, 2009
Small and medium printing businesses confronting the rising costs of employee health insurance may be able to relate to these stories of other small firms facing the same uphill struggle. The stories are brought to us by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), an advocacy group that claims to represent 16 million small employers. NFIB believes that all Americans should have access to quality care and protection against catastrophic costs. It also wants a “government safety net” to enable the neediest to obtain coverage. However, NFIB’s affinity for national health care proposals being developed by the Obama administration ends there. One of its “10 principles” of healthcare reform holds that “to the greatest extent possible Americans should receive their health insurance and healthcare through the private sector. Care must be taken to minimize the extent to which governmental safety nets crowd out private insurance and care.” But the Small Business Majority, an alliance claiming 27 million constituents, thinks that the reform scenarios put forth by the Obama administration can provide just the kind of cost relief that small businesses need. It commissioned a study—the subject of an article in today’s New York Times—that states: "Small businesses will be far better off under a thoughtfully reformed healthcare system based on shared responsibility among individuals, business, government and the healthcare industry—as long as such a system includes provisions that reflect the particular financial constraints faced by small businesses. "Under the models considered, shared responsibility includes tax credits to enable small business owners to better afford coverage options (based on the size of the business), coupled with a payment, on a sliding scale, to be made by employers who don’t offer health insurance (also based on the size of the business)." The report, which can be downloaded here, also concludes that “in just about every case, reform would likely reduce costs, save jobs, preserve wages, bolster profits and virtually eliminate ‘job lock’ when compared to doing nothing.” (“Job lock,” said to affect one in 16 workers currently insured by their employers, is the fear of losing benefits that deters people from looking for other jobs.) What’s your story of struggling to provide health coverage for your employees? What role—if any—do you believe the government should have in halting the profit-killing spiral of health insurance costs?