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Small Business Health Bill to Return to Senate
It was proposed last year, and didn’t make it through. But Senator Michael Enzi intends to sponsor the small business health care bill again this year, despite the opposition he’s facing from many angles.
The State Association of Attorney Generals, the American Caner Society and the American Diabetes Association have all expressed concerned about some holes in the bill in its current condition and want some changes made.
Let’s examine the current bill from both angles:
• Will allow small businesses to pool insurance policies together, much like large corporations and unions currently do.
• Will give many businesses, who otherwise couldn’t, a chance to provide health insurance to their employees.
• The more people in the insurance pool, the better the cost to each business owner.
• The insurance pool spreads the risk involved over a larger number of people, so it doesn’t hurt the pocket nearly as much if an employee in the pool were to get sick.
• It opens up more health care options.
• Coverage does not have to meet state requirements, which can result in large holes in the coverage provided. Important and all too common medical problems like diabetes and breast cancer might not be covered.
• The lack of requirements also allows business owners to provide their employees with a “bare-bones” policy that may covers very little of the fees associated with even routine doctor visits.
• May cause the price of services not covered under the policy to increase in order for medical providers to make up the difference.
• The lack of state oversight could eliminate customer protection on many levels.
With 41 state attorney generals signing their names in a letter of complaint about the holes in the bill, it is expected that Senator Enzi and his colleagues will have to go back to the drawing board to develop some sort of compromise.
But I truly feel they’re on the right track. Far too many people in this country are without health insurance and something needs to be done about that. Giving small businesses the means to provide coverage to their employees is the first step in disposing of the problem.
What do you think? Is the bill fine the way it is? Should changes be made? Are there other alternatives? Share your thoughts.
• CNNMoney.com: Senate fight over small-business health care
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