Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Sad State of The Healthcare Debate

The following was found on "The Hill's pundits blog." The author, Peter Fenn, comments on "The Republicans and Small Business and Healthcare." As an illustration of the way ALL politicians spin issues, it is sickeningly accurate. The politician's rule is: ignore what the other (person) (reporter) (candidate) says or the question he or she asks. Answer the question you wanted the reporter to ask; address the issue you want to address, whether relevant or irrelevant to the issue to which you are responding. But, most importantly, never, ever let the facts get in the way.

July 28, 2009 – 9:36 am

By Peter Fenn

The Republicans and Small Business and Healthcare

I just love the Republicans’ rhetoric on how they stand up for small businesses.

Democrats propose any kind of tax on millionaires and it suddenly becomes an attack on “America’s small businesses.” We try and put together a healthcare plan that makes it possible to keep costs down for small businesses and allows them to insure employees and it becomes about “big government.”

Democrats go after Goldman Sachs for their average salaries of $900,000 when unemployment is nearing 10 percent and we are “socialists.” Democrats complain that Goldman received over $10 billion last year in bailout money, parlay that into $5.1 in first-quarter profits and prepare to shell out $11.4 billion to their executives so far this year and we are attacking the capitalist system.

Now we find out that Goldman has a Cadillac of a healthcare plan that costs over $40,000, just less than the average American family makes in a year. This plan is truly amazing — no co-pays, no deductibles, no cost for prescriptions and don’t worry about pre-existing conditions. And, of course, all free — and it is not taxed, all deductible. Now, tell me, how does that help our small businesses?

Here are the facts on small businesses: 1. Firms with fewer than 20 employees account for 18 percent of private-sector jobs but almost 25 percent of net employment growth in the past 15 years; 2. However, small businesses pay nearly 20 percent more for the same health insurance policy than larger firms because of broker fees, administrative costs and adverse selection; 3. While 99 percent of firms with over 200 employees offer health insurance only 49 percent of firms with three to nine employees do.

Furthermore, there has been a decrease from 2002 to 2008 of small businesses (three to nine employees) offering health insurance — 58 percent down to 49 percent.

Now, explain to me how this is working so well for small businesses. Since I started my firm over 25 years ago I have paid 100 percent of my employees’ health plans. I was glad to do it and lucky enough to be successful. But, like all small-business owners, I have seen those costs rise considerably. My partner and I saw first-hand how pre-existing conditions can raise the costs; we watched as our premiums went up over the years much faster than inflation or the cost of living. Again, we are fortunate that we can afford it, but many small businesses cannot.

To say that we can’t afford health insurance reform is counterintuitive — we cannot afford not to pass real change to the current system. Small business deserves it and needs it — now. Republicans should get on board and really help America’s small businesses.

© 2009 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.


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Kim said...

True enough that health care needs reform. What boggles the mind is that some think that government will make it better and more affordable. Only free markets can do that - through choice and competition. Part of the problem is that government already has its hand in health care way too deeply. I'll share just one commentary on that below. There are free market reforms that can work but which will never be considered by our legislators because they will take power out of Washington. If you are serious about health care reform, I suggest reading the very short and readable - Charles Murray's "In Our Hands." It goes a long way towards resolving lots of the corruption inherent in government which adding 17% of the economy to the government portfolio will only serve to exacerbate. Why aren't monopolies allowed in free markets? We all know the answer to that one until we place government in charge and think we don't have all the inherent fatal flaws of monopolies - but we do writ large!! With government - whatever bastard is in charge will decide if you live or die. With competition - we get to vote for our care every day with our wallets. As for those who can't afford insurance and as for the costs to our businesses - read Murray and let me know if he doesn't make more sense than all our politician's put together.