Neither H.R. 3590 (the Reid bill) or the House-passed health care bill are acceptable to small business. While SBE Council has previously communicated our concerns and opposition to the House bill (as a reminder, the legislation was Key Voted by our group -- a vote for the bill was a vote against small business), I am taking the opportunity to educate you about SBE Council's opposition to the Reid health care bill.
H.R. 3590 does not reflect the daunting economic reality in which our nation's small business owners operate. The cumulative cost load that H.R. 3590 imposes on small firms is, quite simply, irrational policy. The bill's taxes, regulations, mandates, and compliance initiatives are staggering - costly and time-consuming requirements that will further chip away at what little time and capital small business owners currently have to compete and survive in a difficult economy. The nation is looking to entrepreneurs to dig us out of the recession. Small business owners need every penny of capital they can muster in order to save and create jobs, and invest in their firms. H.R. 3590 raises their taxes, and raises business costs. Job creation and our economy will suffer with Washington taking more capital and resources from small business owners.
Health care reform should lower health coverage costs, not drive them higher. H.R. 3590 will increase costs for small businesses, period. The premiums of the self-employed will spike, as will those of businesses with employees. The $6.7 billion tax on insurance companies will be directly passed onto small businesses. Minimum benefit requirements dictated by the federal government will be "richer" than those currently offered by many small businesses, which means their costs will go higher. The expansion of Medicaid in the bill will result in additional cost-shifting to privately insured patients, which means higher insurance premium costs for small employers. Higher taxes on health-related industries will get passed down to health consumers. The tax on "high-cost plans" will disproportionately hit small businesses. The bill unfairly targets small construction firms with an employer mandate that other smaller businesses are exempt from, and new IRS reporting requirements will drive regulatory costs higher for entrepreneurs.
Kerrigan concludes: "SBE Council urges you to strongly oppose efforts to put H.R. 3590 up for a vote in the House. Our members urge you to begin the legislative process anew, and produce health care reform that meets the needs of entrepreneurs. We urge you to work on a bipartisan basis and produce a reform bill that will help, not punish, our nation's small business owners."