NSBA Unveils New Health-Care Initiative

The National Small Business Association Monday launched a new initiative, Health Reform Today, in conjunction with the release of new survey data on the small-business community and its ability to secure quality, affordable health insurance. A longtime supporter of “Cover the Uninsured” Week, NSBA kicked off the week-long national effort highlighting the need to reform the U.S. health-care system with this new initiative.

"The number of small-business owners who are able to provide health insurance to their employees has dropped from 67 percent in 1995 to 38 percent in 2008," said NSBA President Todd McCracken. "NSBA members voted health-care reform their  number-one priority for the 111th Congress—addressing the failures of our health-care system simply can not wait yet another year."

Health care is a hot-button issue for small businesses as lawmakers discuss various legislative and tax approaches. A recent federal bill would eliminate a tax rule that hinders the self-employed from receiving a full deduction for health insurance costs.

The Health Reform Today initiative highlights the need to enact broad health-care reform that places the individual health-care consumer at the center of the equation. NSBA's health-care policy, crafted back in 1993 and revisited in 2004, incorporates individual responsibility, modified community rating on a federally defined benefit package, low-income subsidies, tax incentives based on the cost of the federal package and enhanced quality, transparency and health IT. In addition to  various policy recommendations, HealthReformToday.org features profiles of small-business owners and their everyday challenges to provide meaningful health care for their employees, as well as results from a recent survey of NSBA members on the state  of the U.S. health-care system.

According to the March 2009 NSBA Health Care Survey of Small Business, more than one-fifth of small businesses reported annual premium increases in excess of 20 percent over the past four years. In 2008, 28 percent reported an increase in excess of 20 percent. Problems with the U.S. health-care system are increasingly weighing heavily both financially and administratively on the backs of America's small businesses. Health Reform Today aims to change that and allow small-business owners to get back to doing what they do best: create jobs and grow the economy.

"The cost of health care is becoming a significant barrier to many considering opening their own business," said David Stetler, NSBA Chair of Health and Human Resources. "Small business creates the overwhelming majority of new jobs and  innovations, and Congress must do all it can to ensure that entrepreneurship remains a viable option, including removing barriers  such as the hugely burdensome cost of health care."

Visit HealthReformToday.org for more information and survey data.

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