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Freshmen Senators’ Cost Containment Amendments Crucial to Small Businesses’ Survival

Statement by John Arensmeyer, CEO, Small Business Majority: Sausalito, CA - The cost containment package of amendments introduced today by the Freshmen senators addresses small business owners' number one priority in healthcare reform: cutting costs. These amendments go a long way in providing them relief from the soaring price of health insurance.   By modernizing Medicare technologies, requiring greater transparency and increased healthcare cost reporting from providers and insurers, and implementing reforms that will simplify administrative tasks, curb fraud and eliminate regulatory barriers, the Freshmen senators' amendments greatly reduce costs throughout the system and level the playing field so small businesses can compete with their larger counterparts when it comes to providing their employees with health insurance.

Based on polling we've conducted in 17 states, an average of 86 percent of small business owners who don't offer health coverage to their employees say they can't afford to, and an average of 72 percent of those who do offer it say they're struggling to provide it.   Our current healthcare system is a catch-22 for small businesses. Spiraling costs often make providing health insurance nearly impossible and can force small business owners to freeze wages, lay off employees or postpone growth to pay the exorbitant premiums. But an inability to offer insurance can drive away valuable employees, or see them lost indefinitely if illness or injury strikes.

Economic research we released over the summer-based on modeling by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber-shows that without reform, small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years in healthcare costs, and $834 billion in small business wages will be lost due to these costs.  

The nation's nearly 28 million small businesses need legislation like these amendments that reign in these costs. The status quo is a no-win situation. It's imperative that legislators continue working toward a final bill-which includes this package of amendments-that will give small businesses the relief they desperately need to survive and thrive.  

Small Business Majority is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded and run by small business owners and focused on solving the biggest problem facing small businesses today: the skyrocketing cost of health coverage. We speak for the nearly 28 million Americans who are self-employed or own businesses of up to 100 employees. Our organization sponsors scientific research that guides us to understand and advocate on behalf of the interests of small businesses across the country.

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