WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and Congressman Ron Kind (WI) of the House Ways and Means Committee held a press conference call with small business owners to discuss how America’s small businesses, which lack affordable coverage options today, will benefit substantially by reforms currently being considered in Congress. Below are the remarks by Majority Leader Hoyer. Click here to listen to the audio recording.
“Welcome and thank you for joining us today to bring to light the many ways that health reform proposals under discussion in Congress will help small businesses who are today struggling to provide coverage for their employees.
“One of the most overlooked facts in the health reform debate is that small businesses and their employees will be among those who have the most to gain with reform – and the most to lose under our current system.
“The reality is that the current health care system is unsustainable for American small businesses. Let’s look at the facts.
“Since 2000, insurance costs for small businesses have risen 129 percent. As a result, less than half of America’s smallest firms - 45 percent - can afford to offer health care benefits for their employees. In fact, 60% of America’s uninsured – or 28 million—are small business owners, workers, and their families.
“Because of their size, small businesses face a significant disadvantage in today’s insurance marketplace. As a result, small firm workers pay more – an average of 18% more - for the same benefits than their larger firm counterparts, and their deductibles are more than double.
“And small businesses have higher administrative costs - up to 25 percent of the cost of premiums for some small business health plans, compared to 10 percent for large firms.
“Health reform will help small businesses gain access to a level playing field in the health insurance marketplace in order to access affordable, reliable coverage that is not available to them today.
“Opponents of reform would have you think otherwise. They claim to be champions of small business and they claim to want health reform, but their actions to block the very efforts to give small businesses the help they need speak volumes.
“As you will hear today, small businesses in America need health reform this year. They can’t afford to wait.
“I now want to turn it over to Congressman Ron Kind, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, who will provide details on the provisions benefitting small business and will discuss some of the most blatantly false and misleading claims.”