Small Businesses Look to Bush Administration for Employee Health Coverage Options
Small business advocacy groups are looking to President-elect Bush to push policies on health care, taxes and regulatory issues that are "laissez-faire" and favorable to commerce, the Washington Times reports. With regard to health care, the Small Business Survival Committee, a Washington-based organization, said it is hoping Bush will make a change to allow people who pay "at least half [of] their own insurance costs" to deduct the employee share of the premium from their income taxes. Under a policy currently in effect, health insurance costs will be completely deductible by 2006, but small business advocates say they hope the Bush administration will push for "full deductibility" as early as this year. In addition to tax relief, the business groups hope Bush will allow small firms to join association health plans. These plans pool businesses' resources to allow them to buy cheaper insurance. While many states bar businesses from joining AHPs, Bush supported these programs during his campaign, and the "hoped-for federal law would supersede state legislation." Karen Kerrigan, chair of the Small Business Survival Committee, said, "Clearly, what Bush wants to push on health care policy, to make the system more affordable, more competitive, will help small businesses get insurance" (Rosenberg, Washington Times, 1/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.