|Among other recommendations, SEMA is urging lawmakers to exempt small businesses from providing employer-mandated healthcare.|
The Senate Finance Committee is considering over 500 amendments to a draft bill unveiled last week to address health care reform. SEMA has urged lawmakers to address deficiencies identified during the August debates, such as a need to pursue incremental reform, tackle the root causes of skyrocketing premiums, preserve the private market, and maintain fiscal responsibility.
The Finance Committee action follows President Obama’s speech to Congress which identified a number of elements that a bill must include to address skyrocketing premiums without adding to the federal deficit.
Many of those elements closely match recommendations put forth in SEMA’s August 4 letter to the President. Examples include an exemption for most small businesses from employer mandates; a reliance on the private sector insurance system; small business access to regional or nationwide purchasing pools (called “exchanges”) and tort reform.
SEMA and others in the small business community are now urging lawmakers to include these elements in the legislation.
House Democrats continue their work to combine legislation passed by three Committees into a single bill to be considered on the House floor. The process could occur before or after there is a vote on a Senate bill. If both chambers pass a bill, the legislation would proceed to a conference committee to be melded into a single version.
A health care advisory group comprised of SEMA members familiar with the reform debate is helping formulate the association’s position on issues confronting Congress. SEMA’s advocacy efforts are also coordinated with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare.