Friday, August 14, 2009

Health Care

Hi everyone -

The Chamber was one of many organizations to sign the letter below on health care, and we wanted to share it with you. What are your thoughts?

--
July 28, 2009
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The undersigned chambers of commerce, associations, and businesses, representing millions of
employers who create jobs and provide quality, affordable health insurance to tens of millions of
Americans, wish to urge caution in addressing one of the most difficult problems facing our
nation today – reforming the health care system.
Collectively, we are dedicated to improving our nation’s health care system, especially in terms
of lowering health care costs, improving the quality of care, and making sure every American
has access to affordable coverage. However, we believe that the legislation currently being
considered would not improve the system, but jeopardize the parts of the system that currently
work. In fact, these bills do nothing to “bend the cost curve” rather according to Doug
Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the “curve is raised.”
The creation of a new government-run insurance plan is a step in the wrong direction.
Employers currently suffer a significant cost-shift from existing public programs, and the
program described in House legislation would significantly increase costs for every American
who purchases private insurance. We do not believe that the government plan will be a fair
competitor. Because of the increased costs and lack of competition caused by a government
plan, employers will not be able to continue offering their current plans, which cover more than
170 million Americans.
We are further concerned with a proposal to mandate that employers either provide health
insurance or pay huge fines or payroll taxes. This “pay or play” mandate is especially bad
because employers are also required to pay the majority of employee premiums. Even with some
exemptions, this provision will kill many jobs. Market forces and employer autonomy should
determine what benefits employers provide, rather than Congress.
The business community is eager to work with Congress to reform the health care system.
Businesses, as providers of healthcare benefits, continue to see health care costs rise far in excess
of GDP growth or inflation. Innovative businesses have valuable outcomes to share with
legislators about approaches they have developed to help drive quality and control costs. We
urge Congress to focus on consensus areas that can accomplish our shared goals. Chief among
these should be initiatives to improve quality and lower costs, introducing fair regulation of the
insurance market, and building a robust marketplace for consumers.
We believe that responsible and constructive health reform that we all can support can be
enacted this year. We call on Congress to enact reforms that improve the health system without
jeopardizing those who currently have coverage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There has been much debate about the health care bill, but not enough coverage given to the fact that with the employer mandate this bill is an economic disaster! If you think unemployment is bad now, wait until this bill passes. I always considered myself a small business, but I guess I am not according to the way the House Bill is written. I own and operate a landscape and pool business with 15 employees, with salaries that range from $75000 per year (mine) to $55000 (my lead office guy and my field super) to $22000 (labor). My total yearly payroll is about $500,000, and I would be required to either pay for my employees ( and a major portion of their dependants) health insurance or be "taxed" by the Government at 8% of payroll which is $40,000 per year. My industry is extremely competitive (especially in the current economic downturn in the construction industry) and currently neither I nor my competitors offer health care benefits to our employees. In fact I believe that the figures for coverage for all businesses is that at least 38% do not offer these benefits. How does that make our current system an "employer based health care" one, which is what our President and Congress believe it to be? My business does not make a $40,000 per year profit and never has, after all business related expenses are paid. Where is the money to cover my employees health insurance supposed to come from? (dont talk to me about tax credits, it would take me 5 years just to be able to apply the first year's credit) My only option is to lay off all of my employees and go back to working for myself (which is where I started over 30 years ago before I became a "big business"). I have to believe that many of you out there that own a "small business" are in the same boat that I am in, why are you not loudly voicing your oppostion to the way Congress wants you to pay for this health care bill?!!!