Health Care Costs For Small Businesses Considered
"Health care costs are killing small businesses. Their insurance premiums are rising dramatically and unpredictably," NPR reports. "Jody Hall, who owns Seattle's Cupcake Royale, now pays as much in health insurance for her employees as she does in rent for four choice Seattle storefronts. A majority of working Americans are employed by small businesses, but according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 6 in 10 small businesses provide health care. What's more, the National Federation of Independent Business reports that small companies pay substantially more in premiums than large firms do. Hall, for example, has just three or four insurers to choose from, and she says they won't negotiate on price."
Hall provides health insurance to her 70 employees but has trouble paying the costs. Hall "says her premiums have increased 20 percent in each of the past few years, and a couple of years ago, they went up 40 percent. 'It's unsustainable to manage that kind of expense hike, so we are forced to cut our quality of coverage to make it more affordable, and that doesn't do much for society,' she says." The online story features a photo of Hall with her cupcakes (Kaufman, 7/31).
Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hosted a live health care discussion on Facebook, where she said that small business owners have the most to gain from the bill, The Las Vegas Sun reports. "The bill proposes the creation of a pool that small businesses can buy into with other companies, lowering costs and premiums for businesses and employees. 'Health reform will be good for small businesses, make them competitive in the global marketplace and be able to attract and retain good employees,' she said" (Lucht, 7/31).