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Obama Promotes Health Insurance Reform As Pro-Small Business

By: Yamileth Medina

The political process has been working somewhat in reverse with healthcare reform: instead of selling the bill to the public first and then passing it, supporters are tasked with marketing legislation that has already become law.

President Obama is making his move, going on tour to stump for his plan nationwide. He is especially looking to appeal to small businesses. The constituency goes beyond business owners themselves; such firms are a key driver of economic growth. With Americans worried about jobs--and a stagnant unemployment rate of over 9%--Obama is trying his best to tie the two issues together.

Last week in Maine, he said that health insurance reform would save jobs. The bill offers an immediate tax credit to businesses with under 25 employees, which the administration predicts will save them $40 billion by 2019. Specifically, the credit will initially be for 35% of the portion of insurance premiums paid for by the employer. After 2014, they will receive tax subsidies for up to 50% of their group health insurance expenses.

Especially nowadays, health benefits and other perks are attractive to potential employees, especially those considering firms that would be eligible (average annual wages for the companies must be under $50,000). The tax credit may allow those businesses who don't currently offer such benefits to hire more valuable workers, which could increase efficiency and profits. About four million small businesses could claim the tax credit between 2010 and 2013, as well as two years after they initially file for it.

According to Obama, small businesses will be able to hire more employees, despite an insurance mandate that will affect small businesses over the next decade. Many are worried that the requirement, which will first affect larger businesses and gradually impact smaller businesses over the next decade, will hurt employment by making employers provide affordable health insurance coverage to their employees or pay a fine.

Employers are also concerned about the possibility of minimum coverage standards as well as higher taxes, which may increase their net expenses. Small business administrations, such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses, are skeptical that healthcare reform will help them. Health insurance exchanges, which will allow small businesses to use collective buying power to get lower rates, could work in their favor.

About the Author

Yamileth Medina is an up and coming expert on Health Insurance and Healthcare Reform. She aims to help people realize that they can find quality affordable health insurance right now. Yamileth lives in Miami, FL.

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