Bucks County small businesses and national small business advocacy group Small Business Majority today thanked Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA, 8th District) for supporting meaningful health insurance reform that would provide billions in tax credits for small businesses, lower costs for hardworking entrepreneurs, and allow business owners across the country to expand access to health care coverage for their employees.
The health insurance reform addresses the number one problem facing 28 million small businesses--affordability of health insurance. It improves affordability with tax credits, and provides small businesses with more health plan choices, brings fairness to the marketplace, and prevents discriminatory insurance practices against small businesses. The legislation does this through several provisions:
* Starting in 2010, provides $40 billion in tax credits over the next decade to help 3.6 million small business owners pay health insurance premiums
* Reduces costs and increases negotiating leverage by creating state pools (exchanges) that help level the playing field for small businesses and the self-employed; the exchanges will include at least two multi-state plan options, one of which must be not-for-profit
* Reforms insurance rules to lower costs and reduce annual premium inflation. The reforms end discriminatory practices against small businesses and the self-employed, such as denying coverage or raising rates because of health status, age or preexisting conditions.
* Provides new regulatory authority to prevent large unjustified premium increases for small businesses
* Implements many cost containment provisions that will reduce the long-term rate of insurance premium inflation, such as converting to electronic medical records, reducing waste, fraud and abuse in Medicaid and Medicare and promoting Medical Malpractice reforms in states
* Provides individual tax credits on a sliding scale for 25 million Americans, many of whom are employed by small businesses
Pennsylvania's small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs spent $6.8 billion in healthcare premiums in 2008. According to projections based on research by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, that number will rise to $16.1 billion by 2018 without relief from comprehensive reform. Current proposals would provide tax credits to 18,100 small businesses in the 8th District to help them afford coverage.
Small Business Majority and Bucks County entrepreneurs thanked Murphy for his support of legislation that will provide tax credits for small businesses and help drive down healthcare costs:
"Thank you, Congressman Murphy, for having the courage to stand up and support health insurance reform for all Americans. I run a small retail business in Doylestown, PA. After a lifetime of hard work, my wife of 25 years, Joanne, became disabled in 2001 with a spinal cord injury. Because we're buying insurance on our own, only one insurance company will even offer her coverage and those costs are simply staggering. Every month, we pay $1,300 in premiums - plus all the medications, co-pays, and deductibles which add another $5,000. That is $20,600 a year... if nothing else happens! This is more than what we pay for our mortgage", said Peyton Brown of Peyton Brown Industries in Doylestown, PA. "American families deserve reform that provides middle-class tax credits for affordable coverage and prohibits insurers from turning you away because you get sick or injured. Thank you, Congressman, for standing up to the special interests and fighting for me and Joanne."
"Congressman Murphy has stood up for small business owners from day one, fighting for affordable insurance options and health care tax credits for small businesses. Small businesses owners are struggling - and outrageous healthcare costs are a major reason why. I used to employ half a dozen employees at my construction company, but crushing healthcare costs left me struggling just to stay in businesses, and I had to lay people off. One of those workers had a wife with diabetes, and I know it's been nearly impossible for her to find affordable coverage on her own," said Joe Frederick of Eastern Blasting Co. Inc. "I thank Mr. Murphy for providing a voice for small businesses in Congress and fighting hard to get this bill over the finish line."
"Small businesses are being crushed by soaring healthcare premiums, and this legislation goes a long way in getting them some relief," said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. "Congressman Murphy's support for healthcare reform shows his commitment to small businesses in Bucks County and across the country, and we thank him for that strong support."
"Small businesses are being crushed by skyrocketing premiums, so I'm supporting meaningful health insurance reform that lowers costs for small businesses in Bucks County and across the country," said Rep. Patrick Murphy. "I'm proud to stand with Small Business Majority in supporting legislation that provides $40 billion in tax credits for hardworking entrepreneurs trying to do right by their employees and provide them with health care coverage."