From Sunlen Miller:
President Obama again used his weekly address to push for health care reform – this time focusing on how reform would help small businesses.
“Because they lack the bargaining power that large businesses have and face higher administrative costs per person, small businesses pay up to 18 percent more for the very same health insurance plans – costs that eat into their profits and get passed on to their employees,” Obama said. “These are the mom and pop stores and restaurants, beauty shops and construction companies that support families and sustain communities. They’re the tiny startups with big ideas, hoping to become the next Google or Apple or HP.”
The president referenced the statistics detailed in the release by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, which said such business are getting “crushed by skyrocketing health care costs.” Obama used that as just one more example of why health care reform needs to be passed.
The report showed the extent of the burden that the current U.S. health care system imposes on small businesses – costing them a whopping 18 percent more per worker than large firms for the same health insurance policy. Those costs are passed on to small firm employees through lower wages, and at the disadvantage to the businesses that lose the best workers.
The president said the health care plan in the current draft legislation would reduce the current burdens on small firms and their workers. Small businesses would be able to purchase health insurance though the insurance exchange marketplace.
“They can compare the price, quality and services of a wide variety of plans, many of which will provide better coverage at lower costs than the plans they have now," he said. "They can then pick the one that works best for them and their employees.”
Those mall businesses that insure their employees would receive a tax credit to help them pay for it.
“If a small business chooses not to provide coverage, its employees can purchase high-quality, affordable coverage through the insurance exchange on their own,” Obama said. “Low-income workers – folks who are more likely to be working at small businesses – will qualify for a subsidy to help them cover the costs.”
At the end of his address, and at the end of a long week of health care battles that were not won, President Obama spoke about those who want to block reform.
“I know there are those who are urging us to delay reform," he said. "And some of them have actually admitted that this is a tactic designed to stop any reform at all. Some have even suggested that, regardless of its merits, health care reform should be stopped as a way to inflict political damage on my administration. I’ll leave it to them to explain that to the American people.”
Obama feels a “sense of urgency” about moving the legislations forward because once it is passed, he said, they will have to then “move thoughtfully and deliberately to implement these reforms over a period of several years.”