WASHINGTON — Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and Debbie Stabenow joined Terry Gardiner of the Small Business Majority and Mike Brey, small business owner from Maryland, at a press conference this afternoon to unveil a package of amendments to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will benefit small businesses. While the Senate bill makes health care more affordable and sustainable for America’s small businesses, these amendments will continue Democrats’ commitment to level the playing field for small businesses by lowering costs, increasing competitiveness and making health care more stable for entrepreneurs.
“The Senate bill is a step forward toward more affordable and stable coverage for our nation’s 29 million small businesses. But our work is not complete. Our amendments would strengthen the bill by extending and enhancing the tax credits for small businesses, ensuring the insurance exchanges are as robust as possible, and eliminating penalties associated with waiting periods, just to name a few initiatives,” Senator Landrieu said. “This is an historic opportunity to fix a broken health care system that is crushing America’s small businesses. We must not let this chance slip by without making sure that we don’t just pass any health care bill – we pass a bill that will lessen the burden on small businesses and allow them to thrive and create jobs for years to come.”
“Small businesses are the number one source of jobs in Arkansas,” Senator Lincoln said. “These businesses are the engines of our local economies. They are also the least able to weather price increases in health insurance premiums, as they have little capital to combat the steep and ever-increasing rise in health care costs. In Arkansas, only 29 percent of businesses with fewer than 50 employees offer health insurance coverage because it is simply too expensive. I am committed to ensuring that our small businesses have the opportunity to access quality, affordable and stable care for their employees and their families.”
“Without health insurance reform, businesses will see their health care costs more than double, costing us American jobs,” Senator Stabenow said. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will already reduce health care costs for small businesses by 25%. This amendment package will help small businesses even further by making tax credits available to them immediately and strengthening the tax credits available to small businesses that purchase plans in the new state exchanges, making health insurance more affordable. We need to pass this bill now, to help small businesses strengthen our economy and create jobs.”
“We appreciate the leadership of the Small Business Committee, including Chairwoman Landrieu and Ranking Member Snowe and how they have truly listed to the needs of small businesses when it comes to reducing the burden on small business owners to provide insurance coverage to their employees,” said Terry Gardiner of the Small Business Majority. “The last time Congress worked to reform the health insurance system in our country, the business community walked away from the table. The business community should not make that mistake again, and Small Business Majority will continue to work with the Small Business Committee and all Senators to pass meaningful health reform that will benefit all small businesses.”
“Just because we are in a recession and struggling with the deficit does not mean that we should ignore the problem of the high costs of health insurance, particularly to small businesses,” said Mike Brey, owner of Hobby Works in Laurel, MD. “Many small businesses like mine are only one or two years away from no longer being able to offer health coverage to our employees. Our policymakers cannot let one problem stop them from solving another.”
To view a video from the press conference, please click here.
To view a factsheet on the small business amendment package, please click here.
To view the small business provisions in the Senate health care bill, please click here.
Below are news releases in support of the Small Business Amendment Package: