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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Groups Outline Small Business Opposition to Reid Health Bill

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) joined nine other business groups representing small business, to make Members of the United States Senate aware that minor changes to the Reid bill aimed towards “improving” its effectiveness for small firms will not mollify the organization’s grave concerns “about the bill’s far-reaching impact on business costs, the economy and our nation’s health care system.” In a letter sent to all U.S. Senators on December 7, the groups wrote that the Reid bill, HR 3590, will lead to higher costs and increased burdens on small businesses.

“Meaningful and serious reform legislation will reduce health coverage costs and bend the cost trajectory down – not only for public plans, but most importantly for individuals and businesses of all sizes. HR 3590 does not measure up to this key objective,” wrote the organizations.

SBE Council joined the Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors, Independent Electrical Contractors, International Foodservice Distributors Association, International Franchise Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in signing the letter.

Above and beyond the fact that HR 3590 does not reduce health coverage costs for small businesses, the groups reviewed a range of concerns about the legislation including new taxes and regulations that will make health insurance more expensive, not less. The groups expressed opposition to new taxes, fees and penalties totaling nearly half a trillion dollars, which fall “disproportionately on the backs of small business.”

According to the letter: “Small firms are in desperate need of this precious capital for job creation, investment, business expansion and survival.” The letter questions the usefulness of the small business “tax credit,” conveying that “Even if the tax credit were substantially enhanced and lengthened, the overall cost of HR 3590 to taxpayers and the economy – combined with the specter of the status quo at best when it comes to premium costs, on top of tax increases, mandates, government-designed insurance and harsh penalties – far outweigh minor attempts to fix a bill that is flawed in its overall approach.”

The groups urge the Senate to “start over and begin work on a new legislative approach that addresses the concerns of America’s small businesses.” To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

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