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House To Introduce Healthcare Bill For Small Business And Self Employed

Posted Jun 12th, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team

In an effort to support the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP Act) that was introduce by Senate in April, the House of Representatives have announced their support for a companion legislation that was set to be introduced this week by La Crosse Democrat Ron Kind. The bills goal is to even out the playing field for small business owners and self employed individuals who are currently paying much more than the larger companies and their employees are for healthcare.

Due to how the current law governing small business and self employed healthcare is currently set up, these individuals are not eligible for special tax privileges, treatments, or even coverage that their larger counterparts are. In many cases, these individuals are charged up to 18% more for the same quality of service just because of the size of their company. This easily explains why out of the 47 million uninsured Americans, more than 28 million of them fall into this category.

The support for this bill has already been seen by the National Federation of Independent Business, the Service Employees International Union, and the National Association of Realtors on top of the numerous Democrats and Republicans within the House. Democratic Representative Ron Kind stated that "With rising costs pricing small businesses out of the market, it's no surprise that 60 percent of Americans without health insurance are from families where the head of household is self-employed or works in a small business." (La Crosse Tribune, 6/11).

Current solutions to this problem include the use of health savings accounts and prescription discount cards to cut out the cost of administrative fees that inflate most insurance plans. But with the passing of this bill, these services will be even more useful for these individuals as they'll be receiving a greater tax benefit for utilizing them without overpaying for their medical needs. The combination of having free prescription coverage coupled with having a health savings account to pay for your doctors visits, procedures, and medication co-pays can actually save them a sizeable amount over those with traditional health insurance.

The SHOP Act intends to allow these smaller companies and self employed individuals register on either a state or nationwide level for a healthcare coverage plan that would recognize them as if they where a larger company. In that situation, they would negate the high cost of the insurance that they had previously had to pay for by splitting it over a much larger group. The SHOP Act would also offer tax credits to the small business owners and self employed individuals who provide insurance for themselves and/or their employees.