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New healthcare plan ignores small businesses

Kevin Kelly, a small business owner in Union City, CA, writing in Newsweek, outlines how healthcare plans are just not doing it for him.  One interesting datapoint is the way SMBs are defined by congress vs the Small Business Administration:

most legislation defines small business as companies with less than 50 employees. This stands in sharp contrast to the standard set by the Small Business Administration, which defines small business as manufacturing companies with less than 500 employees and nonmanufacturing firms with receipts of less than $7 million. The definition matters. Most plans in Congress set employer mandates at 50 employees or more, with no tax credits going to companies that are larger. Small businesses will have to offer the same levels of coverage as companies many times larger, and they’ll get no help to offset costs.

He concludes with some rather sobering thoughts about small businesses leading the recovery, or not, as the case may be:

[M]y costs continue to skyrocket each year, with little hope increases will ever end. This puts me at a competitive disadvantage against foreign competitors with state-run systems.Last year our health-insurance bill jumped $140,000. We decided not to pass any of the increase on to employees since they were already being hammered by rising gasoline prices. We worried that bumping their costs up might force some good, well-trained employees to look elsewhere for work. But in order to cover that cost, we had to find either $2 million in new sales or the same in cost cuts. Otherwise, it came out of margin. I’ll give you one guess how we covered the hike.

Today I am no more hopeful, reform or not, that our company’s lot will change. I will still think twice about adding jobs when I know that I am not just taking on a new wage or salary, but high health-care costs as well. “How can you have a job recovery when you worry about such things”