Small Business Owners Speak Out on Healthcare Reform

Entrepreneurs want lower costs, better benefits

“If they reform the marketplace and hold insurers accountable, I don’t think you need a public plan to achieve what’s needed,” says NSBA President Dodd McCracken.

Charles Davis, president of Technology, Automation & Management Inc., disagrees. His company, which employs 35 people, pays 95% of single-coverage premiums, but just 60% for family coverage because it is so much more expensive.

“The public option will increase competition and make the for-profit insurance companies become more competitive in pricing,” said Davis.

Most small business stakeholders also support the concept of an insurance exchange, which would enable them to reap the benefits of large-group rates and a greater choice of plans currently offered only to large employers.

Anthony Evans, executive vice president of ANCON, which he co-owns with his wife, pays 80% of the premiums for the 80% his 25 employees who opted for coverage, some of whom work and live in six other states. Because those premiums increased by 20% in the last quarter, the company will soon pay just 50%. He believes an exchange would offer greater choice and help contain costs.

A plan last week to unveil a healthcare bill on the House floor was blocked by the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats, who are concerned about the lack of deficit neutrality and inadequate small business protections.

Although lawmakers are still scrambling to settle these and other differences with other caucuses, Democratic lawmakers hope the bill will be introduced Tuesday.

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