Senator Dick Durbin has allied himself with a variety of business and labor groups to co-author legislation to provide more affordable health care options for small businesses.
Via All American Patriots:
Developed to help combat annual premium jumps that usually rank in the double digits, this bill is receiving praise from a number of concerned parties. From Charles McMillan, the President-Elect of the National Association of Realtors to Todd Stottlemyer, President and CEO of the NFIB, supporters are sanguine about the effects this will have for both independent contractors and employees of small businesses. The extreme nature of this burden is illustrated by McMillan's comment that for the average realtor, "the total cost of health insurance can rival or even exceed their monthly mortgage."
The bi-partisan legislation was introduced in partnership with Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). Nationwide, there are 47.1 million employees in 5.8 million small businesses and 14.1 million self-employed individuals.
The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) addresses the number one problem for many small businesses and the self-employed -- the high cost of providing health care for their employees -- by:
* Allowing small businesses to band together and spread the risk over a large number of participants in order to obtain lower premiums.
* Providing tax credits for small business owners to offset contributions to employee premiums.
* Banning health status rating in order to protect businesses from large rate increases simply because one employee gets sick.
As an independent contractor myself, I understand the fears and the costs involved. I am consistently grateful for the fact that I have health insurance, which I only have because of my lovely wife's health care plan from her job. Even insured I often become the statistic as I put off health care that is not urgent due to the rising costs.
I can assure you that this is one piece of legislation I will be keeping a careful eye on.
SOURCE: "Senator Durbin Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Affordable Health Insurance Plan for Small Businesses" 08/05/08
photo courtesy of Larsz, used under its Creative Commons license