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National Federation of Independent Business Launches Aggressive Campaign to Drive Healthcare Reform: Solutions Start Here
Date:3/12/2008

Small business demands solutions from presidential candidates, Congress

WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation's leading small business association, announced today the launch of Solutions Start Here, an aggressive healthcare campaign that will urge policymakers to deliver real and meaningful healthcare reform for small business. Kicking off the campaign, NFIB sent a letter today to the presidential candidates challenging them to develop reform proposals that support the backbone of the U.S. economy - small businesses.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080312/16227LOGO)

More than fifteen years ago, comprehensive reform was introduced that did not adequately consider the unique situation of small businesses. Finding real solutions requires the cooperation of diverse, bipartisan groups willing to work together for change. Over the past decade, insurance premiums have continued to increase each year, jumping 129 percent in the last eight years. Today, small business owners, a voting bloc larger than soccer moms and NASCAR dads, are insisting that action be taken to address their healthcare crisis.

"Small businesses have reached a breaking point," said Todd Stottlemyer, president and CEO of NFIB. "The presidential candidates and Congress should take note. Small business is an established and committed group that has been asking lawmakers for a healthcare solution that addresses their needs. This election we aren't just asking, we're demanding...with our vote."

Small businesses are disproportionately burdened by healthcare costs. Of the 46 million Americans without health insurance (1), more than 27 million are small business owners, their employees or their dependents (2). Under current law they don't enjoy the same tax breaks, coverage or pooling options as large businesses and corporations; on average, they pay 18 percent more for the same healthcare benefits.

For comprehensive healthcare reform to become a reality, the unique needs of small business must be fully addressed. This is especially clear based on the results from a national survey conducted by NFIB, which measured the voting strength of small business and showed that healthcare is their most significant issue.

-- 43 percent of voters polled were part of the small business community, a significantly greater percentage than union members (11.9 percent), and trendy segments, such as soccer moms (5 percent) and NASCAR dads (2 percent)

-- 53 percent of small business voters, defined as owners and their employees, agree that healthcare is the "most important factor" in determining their vote

-- Nearly 81 percent of small business owners say that finding affordable healthcare for themselves and their employees is a challenge, with 16 percent saying it is their greatest challenge

-- 71 percent of small business voters believe that healthcare should be a top priority for the next president

The Solutions Start Here campaign will drive home our message at the federal, state and grassroots level with activities including:

-- Hosting Fix-it Forums in seven cities across the country to listen to and learn from the real-life healthcare stories and struggles of small business owners and employees;

-- Communicating with presidential candidates to ensure they fully consider small business as a significant voting bloc with a vested interest in healthcare reform;

-- Inviting NFIB members, presidential candidates and legislators to sign a petition that reinforces the need to drive down healthcare costs while maintaining quality and choice. The petition will be submitted to the 111th Congress and the incoming Administration;

-- Moderating a series of healthcare reform forums that bring health policy leaders and economists together to discuss and debate the most crucial elements of healthcare reform; and

-- Conducting two high-level research projects to better understand how small business responds to different policy suggestions so that we can determine what small business owners specifically want in various legislative proposals.

"Small business owners and employees are shouldering an overwhelming and disproportionate burden of a broken healthcare system," continued Stottlemyer. "The needs of America's small businesses must be included in healthcare reform, because when it's fixed for small business it's fixed for America."

For more information on Solutions Start Here or the NFIB national surveys and six state-specific surveys, please contact Stephanie Cathcart, 202-314-2056.

Solutions Start Here is a campaign developed and led by NFIB and its members as the small business platform for healthcare reform. By working to engage and educate policymakers about the unique healthcare issues faced by small business, Solutions Start Here will drive and integrate the concerns and needs of America's small business community into the national health reform debate. Because when healthcare is fixed for small business, it's fixed for America. For more information visit http://www.FixedForAmerica.com.

NFIB is the nation's leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB's powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America's free enterprise system.

NFIB's mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at http://www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

(1) http://www.census.gov

(2) http://www.ebri.org


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SOURCE National Federation of Independent Business
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