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Insurance bills don't help business

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Steve Strauss
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All of the chatter about healthcare reform is nice, but it sure does remind one of that old Mark Twain line: “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

So we have to give at least a few props to the Oregon legislature for tackling the issue. They recently passed House Bills 2009 and 2116. Do they make health insurance more affordable? A small business owner might be heartened by the fact that a group called the Oregon Small Business Healthcare Initiative supported the passage the bills and consider them “important steps in controlling rising health care costs and improving the quality of health care for Oregonians.”

But in reality, what these twin bills have to do with small business is beyond me. According to Oregon Senate Democrats, “Together, the two bills will cover 95% of Oregon’s uninsured children and extend coverage to an additional 35,000 low-income adults while instituting a reformed model of health care delivery for Oregonians.”

Now look, I’m no Scrooge. I like helping kids and the needy as much as anyone, but the passing of these bills begs the questions: When is it our turn? It is not an insignificant point. The ridiculous cost of healthcare is one of the biggest issues facing any small business owner.

Everyone talks about how small business is the backbone of the economy, and the fact is, it is small business that usually leads the way out of recession – by creating jobs, innovating, and so on. But we can’t do it alone. If Congress or the Oregon legislature really wanted to get healthcare to kids and those in need, they would pass some legislation designed to lower the cost for we the small businessperson.

Do that, and watch the number of insured go up.



Martin T. Wozich
0 #1 The High Cost of Health-Care HandoutsMartin T. Wozich 2009-07-04 16:53:32
Providing health insurance for my employees and their families is the most costly expense (besides direct payroll) of my logging business. It seems that the price of insurance went up significantly with the creation of the Oregon Health Plan. This is probably the case because health care providers charge their paying customers more to cover the lower amounts paid by the OHP. Since the OHP is cheap, their clients use the system more than paying customers who have to pay deductables and copays. The result is a greater load carried by paying customers and the employers who pay for their health insurance. Exorbitant health care costs will drive small business out of Oregon and on to states who are smart enough to not get in this kind of altruistic mess.
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