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Senate Health Bill Remains a High-Cost Minefield for Small Business
Date:12/21/2009

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) said the latest version of the Senate health care bill continues to ignore the plight of U.S. small businesses, and instead burdens them with additional taxes and regulations that will drive business costs higher.

"Rather than moving in a direction that heeds the concerns of small business, the Senate health bill imposes an even higher tax burden on our sector while retaining other tax, regulatory and compliance measures that will drive business and health coverage costs higher," said SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

According to SBE Council, the "manager's amendment" put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raises the Medicare payroll tax higher (from 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent), and exposes small businesses in the construction industry to a punishing employer mandate that will cripple this already hurting sector. The bill singles out the construction industry by not exempting businesses in this sector from the "play-or-pay" employer mandate that other firms with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from (although it does exempt construction firms with five employees or less). The latest Reid bill also increases the individual mandate penalty/tax, which will hit the self-employed, and maintains an array of other tax hikes and regulatory requirements that will drive up the cost of health coverage for small business.

Kerrigan said changes to the tax credits aimed toward helping small business are too insignificant to outweigh the cumulative cost load of the overall bill.

"The changes that were added to mollify small business concerns are too minuscule and complex," said Kerrigan.

SBE Council has urged the Senate to start the legislative process over, and include small business reforms within the core bill. The group has long advocated a national marketplace for
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SOURCE Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
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