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Passage of Senate Bill Clears the Way for Real Change

Statement by John Arensmeyer, CEO, Small Business Majority, onDec. 24, 2009

The passage today of the Senate's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brings the country to the threshold of vital change. We are closer than we've ever been to fixing many of the flaws in our broken healthcare system, and getting America's 28 million small business owners some real relief.

Compromises had to be made to get us this far. Although not every provision we hoped for made the final cut, we're confident that what remains far outweighs what was lost and provides small businesses the support they need to succeed. This bill includes stringent insurance reforms-such as the elimination of preexisting condition rules and discrimination based on gender or health status-and strong provisions to control costs. We know from polling of small business owners that these issues are their top priorities in healthcare reform.

Additional provisions of huge benefit to small businesses include strengthened tax credits that will be made available immediately upon enactment of reform, and medical malpractice reforms that will reduce wasteful expenditures. These will enable more small business owners to offer health insurance to their employees and help save small business jobs. Small businesses will also have more choices, and more clout in negotiating premiums, thanks to a provision that requires that at least two multi-state health plans-at least one of which must be a nonprofit-be offered through all 50 state exchanges.

This country was built by entrepreneurs-the very people whose livelihoods are most threatened by the current system. We urge Congress to pass a final bill that combines the best provisions of the House and Senate proposals, and allows our small businesses to get back to doing what they do best-innovating, creating, and helping restore America's economic vigor.

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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