By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
I'm self-employed, as a growing number of women are: Over the last 30 years, the number of self-employed workers who are women has grown to nearly 4 in 10, according to the Wall Street Journal. Like me, many women of child-rearing age have realized that being self-employed allows us to make some money and still have a flexible enough schedule to be there for the kids. Among my friends, many have some sort of part-time or full-time work outside of a regular office, either consulting from home or doing contract work for a small business--like a public relations firm, a law firm, or a doctor's office, mostly. In fact, small businesses like those now account for 55 percent of the jobs in the United States, the Journal reports.
So when the $940 billion healthcare bill was posted online yesterday along with the CBO estimate--and the barrage of analysis began--I found this opinion to be one of the most interesting. It's from Karen Kerrigan, president of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council:
"Spend a trillion to save a trillion? Are we really to believe that spending a trillion in tax dollars on healthcare will save more than a trillion on the same? And where is the declaration that health premium costs will go down? Under the Senate bill, these costs will largely increase according to the CBO. This dynamic appears to not have changed. House Democrats may want to consider that before voting "yes" on the measure. Individual and small to mid-size businesses are looking for lower costs, not higher ones. Health coverage costs will not go down under the legislation. Unfortunately, the CBO analysis also shows increases in individual mandate penalties (up $2 billion to $17 billion total) and employer mandate penalties (up $25 billion to $52 billion total). Whacking struggling self-employed people and small businesses even harder is not a sound approach for restoring the economy."
House and Senate Republicans would be smart to stay on the side of small businesses who will be disproportionately affected by mandates and penalties. It's small businesses who are most affected by rising healthcare premiums in the first place and who need solutions. But the solutions they need are free-market ones, like the ability to allow employees to purchase lower-cost insurance across state lines--not more mandates and penalties.
That's why on Wednesday, the governor of Idaho was the first to sign a measure rejecting any new mandates requiring healthcare coverage; similar legislation is pending in 37 states across the country. State leaders seem much more in tune with small businesses--and the millions of jobs they create--than the Democrats in Washington are. They give a lot of lip service to small businesses, but actions speak louder than words.