After “many months of discussion” in which the National Federation of Independent Business was engaged in efforts to ensure that the high cost of health care was adequately addressed in reform legislation, the organization yesterday came out in full force against the Senate health care bill, declaring it a “disaster for small business:”
Small business can’t support a proposal that does not address their No. 1 problem: the unsustainable cost of healthcare. With unemployment at a 26-year high and small business owners struggling to simply keep their doors open, this kind of reform is not what we need to encourage small businesses to thrive.
We oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act due to the amount of new taxes, the creation of new mandates, and the establishment of new entitlement programs. There is no doubt all these burdens will be paid for on the backs of small business. It’s clear to us that, at the end of the day, the costs to small business more than outweigh the benefits they may have realized.
NFIB declared the Reid Bill to be unacceptable due to the “impact from these new taxes, a rich benefit package that is more costly than what they can afford today, a new government entitlement program, and a hard employer mandate” which together would cripple small businesses.
The organization’s conclusion is not surprising, given that the Reid Bill leaves small businesses in a lurch. The bill essentially acknowledges that it is terrible policy for small businesses, given that it includes a “small business tax credit” to minimize the impact of the job killing employer mandates and regulation-caused rises in private health insurance premiums.
The problem is that the tax credit only lasts two years and largely excludes small business owners, small businesses with high-average payrolls, and firms with 25 or more workers. After all exclusions, essentially the only eligible firms are those firms with 10 or fewer workers as well as those with low-income workers—the least likely to offer coverage even with a significant price reduction.