Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Reid Bill and What We Know: Higher Taxes and Less Capital - Higher Health Costs and Red Tape for Small Business

/PRNewswire/ -- A leading advocacy group for small businesses said that the secrecy and manipulation that has come to define health care reform in the Senate is not only fueling widespread opposition to the legislation, but also undermines the confidence that is desperately needed to get the economy back on a solid growth track.

According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), what is already known about the bill will be harmful to small business, job creation and the health care system. What we don't know could prove to be more harmful to the economy, as the covert approach to legislation being crafted creates more uncertainty and public distrust. This, in turn, is making business owners more nervous about the disconnect Democrat leaders continue to flaunt in the face of U.S. fiscal and economic conditions that are rather perilous.

"Business owners can't afford any new burdens imposed on them by Washington. Yet, and in stunning fashion, the Democratic leadership continues to push legislation that will take more capital and resources away from small firms. Entrepreneurs can't create jobs when Congress is planning to take more of their capital, and they certainly can't afford the higher health premiums and new business costs that will result from the Reid bill. Moreover, they are waiting for the other shoe to drop regarding the secret measures that Senator Reid refuses to make public. We are flabbergasted that members of the Senate are actually announcing support for a bill when they have not seen its details," said SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

This failure in leadership is appalling, according to Kerrigan. Business owners and the American people are watching the political circus in disbelief. The overwhelming majority wants reforms that bring down the cost of health insurance and improves the quality of the system, but they see a massive tax and spending bill that will make their own personal situation much worse.

"Legislation that revamps one-sixth of the economy should not be secretly designed by a small band of partisans who are merely trying to get to sixty votes," said Kerrigan. It is no surprise, she added, that public support for the health care bill is tanking.

SBE Council has urged the Senate to start the legislative process over, and include small business reforms within the core bill. The group has long advocated a national marketplace for health care, robust tax incentives for businesses and individuals, the expansion of health savings accounts, tax parity for the self-employed, medical liability reform as well as support for local and state programs that are helping to deliver health care and insurance to those who lack access. Such market reforms and tax incentives will do far more to cover the uninsured -- and at far less cost to taxpayers -- than the $2.5 trillion Reid bill, according to SBE Council.

SBE Council is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit www.sbecouncil.org.

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