WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, today convened a roundtable to discuss healthcare reform proposals as they relate to small businesses. Participants at the roundtable, entitled “Healthcare Reform: The Concerns and Priorities from the Perspective of Small Businesses,” included U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Metairie, La. businessman Michael Mitternight and representatives from several small business advocacy organizations.

“This is the 12th meeting of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship that I have chaired this Congress. While the topics have ranged from entrepreneurial development to trade to lending, I continue to hear from small business owners that their number one concern is healthcare,” Chair Landrieu said. “The cost of providing coverage is rising at an unpredictable and unsustainable rate, making it difficult for small business owners to secure stable healthcare for their employees. According to the National Small Business Association, many small businesses have reported yearly premium increases of as much as 20 percent for the past four years. Simply put, we need to reform our health care system to provide small businesses the opportunity to grow and prosper. The cost of doing nothing is just too great.”

“As former Chair and now Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, if there’s one concern I’ve heard time and again – from small businesses in Maine and across the country – it’s the exorbitant cost to small businesses of providing health insurance to their employees,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “Further compounding the crisis is that small group insurance markets currently have no real competition, as evidenced by the alarming trend of consolidation in the state small group insurance markets. Small business health reform must be a central component to our broader reform efforts, and that is why I am working diligently, as a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, to craft bipartisan, comprehensive health care reform legislation that will make health care more affordable and universal for small businesses and the self-employed.”

“Small businesses are the economic engine that can drive national recovery and I ask only that the government not impede that ability,” said Metairie small business owner Michael Mitternight. “As a small business owner, I can say I’m anxious for healthcare reform, but only if it promotes affordability. I’m opposed to mandates on small businesses and increased taxation. I appreciate Senator Landrieu’s efforts to work with small businesses in helping to achieve those goals.”

For more information on today’s roundtable, including archive video and Chair Landrieu’s opening statement, please click here

A full list of participants is below:

The Honorable Ron Wyden
United States Senator
Oregon

John Arensmeyer
Founder and CEO
Small Business Majority

Kristie L. Arslan
Executive Director, Legislative Office
National Association for the Self-Employed

Amanda Austin
Director, Federal Public Policy – Senate
National Federation of Independent Business

David D. Ferreira
Vice President for Government Affairs
U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Todd McCracken
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Small Business Association

Michael Mitternight
President
Factory Service Agency, Inc.

Len Nichols
Director, Health Policy Program
New America Foundation

Ronald Phipps
Vice President
National Association of Realtors

Ann Sullivan
Representing Women Impacting Public Policy
President
Madison Services Group, Inc.