Small Business Groups Worry About Reform
Small businesses are already strapped by health care costs and are concerned about the efforts on reform, according to the Baltimore Sun. "As Congress works to fix the health care system, controlling the growing tab for medical insurance is an especially important concern for the nation's 6 million small businesses, whose support is crucial to any reform. While trying to extend coverage to 47 million uninsured Americans, lawmakers are also trying to reduce expenses," the Sun reports.
For small-business owners, "health care coverage is in a crisis and can no longer be maintained without making difficult choices. Small firms providing family coverage have seen annual premiums more than double since 1999, according to an annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust." The National Federation of Independent Business opposes a House proposal for an employer mandate to provide health insurance, while its members, "whose firms average 10 employees, have identified health insurance costs as their No. 1 concern since 1986" (Cho, 8/28).
The Associated Press finds a short respite in the health care battle: "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Thursday it is temporarily suspending its television ads that attack the Democratic health care effort, becoming the second opponent of the effort to do so since Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's death. R. Bruce Josten, top lobbyist for the business group, said his organization was pulling the commercials out of respect for the Massachusetts Democrat and his family."
"The chamber's $7.5 million campaign, running in 21 states for the past two weeks, criticizes the government-run optional coverage that many Democrats favor and says their plan would increase the deficit and taxes. Josten said the ads would resume early next week, after the senator's funeral. Kennedy will be buried Saturday at Arlington National Cemetery (8/27).
A Wall Street Journal Blog also reports on the ads: "The chamber began running ads against the White House's health-care ideas earlier this month, taking some in the Obama administration by surprise" (8/27).