Small businesses turn against health plan
Democrats need bloc to push reform
Over the course of two years, the annual health-insurance premiums at David White’s auto shop in Bar Harbor, Maine, more than doubled from $23,000 to $47,000.
“It was platinum coverage,” he said of the insurance plan, which covered himself, three employees and their families. “I was happy to do it.”
The rising costs eventually proved too much to handle, and he canceled the plan. Now he’s hoping that a health care reform plan in Congress will allow him and his employees to enroll in a proposed government-run program.
Mr. White is exactly the kind of small-business owner that Democratic leaders had hoped would support their reform proposals. But the largest lobbying group for small-business owners says the health care bills in Congress would hurt the David Whites of the world and, in a major blow to President Obama and his allies, is complaining publicly about the plans’ most important components.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) says small-business owners should worry about the bills’ requirement that employers provide health insurance, and about higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for the proposed benefits.
NFIB, a powerful lobbying group and a traditional friend to conservative causes, also says the House reform bills wouldn’t be effective in decreasing insurance costs.
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