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Healthcare Tax Credit Numbers Indicative of Small Businesses’ Unfamiliarity with Provision


A wake-up call for small business advocates to step up education efforts

Nov. 7, 2011 -- Statement by John Arensmeyer, CEO, Small Business Majority:

The small business healthcare tax credit numbers released today by the Treasury Inspector General are indicative of small business owners' overall unfamiliarity with this provision of the Affordable Care Act, and serve as a wake-up call to everyone representing small business' interests to step-up education efforts so more small businesses can take advantage of this cost-saving tool.

Our opinion polling found 57 percent of small business owners do not know about the tax credits, however, when they learn about them, they like what they hear. We've held hundreds of events informing small business owners about the credits since the law was enacted in March 2010, but continue to find small employers don't know this provision exists to help them better afford health insurance.

We released research last year with Families USA that found 4 million small business owners were eligible for the credit. But it's no wonder the uptake is low with opponents discouraging small business owners from taking the credits for political purposes and the overall lack of awareness of the provision within the small business community.

The tax credit is not a panacea for high health insurance costs. It alone will not give small business owners all the relief they need. However, it is one weapon small business owners should include in their arsenal to fight ever-rising premium costs. It's encouraging the IRS is taking steps to simpilfy the credit for small employers so more firms can reap its benefits.

It's also imperative small business owners are properly educated about this provision so they can use it to help lower their costs, especially as we get closer to 2014 when the law will be fully implemented and small employers can save up to 50 percent of their premiums with the credit.

Instead of trying to tear down the credits to score political points, opponents should be educating small employers about this important provision of the healthcare law. Every dollar saved in this unforgiving economic climate will help small firms.

Small Business Majority is a national small business advocacy organization focused on solving the biggest problems facing America's 28 million small businesses. We conduct extensive opinion and economic research and work with small business owners, policy experts and elected officials nationwide to bring nonpartisan small business voices to the public policy table.

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