Where the Candidates Stand on Group Health Insurance, Small Biz

by Ethan Calvin

Presidential Health Care Campaign 2008 breaking news: In regards to rising health care costs and health insurance costs, small businesses are the group being hit especially hard. Nowadays, a small business being able to budget for health insurance for its employees is nothing short of a miracle.

Come November 4, who will the small business owner be voting for? This is where your candidates stand, so far. Arizona Senator John McCain, official Republican nominee, is wanting to move away from the employer-based system. This would involve offering tax credits to individuals choosing to purchase health insurance on their own. This would give employees more options, like purchasing plans across state lines, thus helping small businesses.

The democratic nominee, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, would like to see to it that all eployers are required to contribute something for their workers’ health insurance. Obama would like all companies to 1) offer employees coverage or 2) help pay for their worker’s individual plans. Small businesses would be exempt under Obama’s plan. To Obama’s demise, this is not so convincing to small business owners, as he hasn’t yet specified who will qualify as a small business owner. A lobbyist for independent business has been quoted as saying, “We’d like to see more specificity on almost everything. A lack of specificity breeds worries.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama economic policy director, Jason Furman, said, “We would work with the Treasury to design the appropriate threshold for defining a small business.” But Senator Obama does have some health insurance specifics for small businesses – he would offer small business employers 50 percent tax refund if they provide their workers health coverage. “I’m announcing my plan to provide real relief for small business owners crushed by rising costs, an idea championed by my friend Hillary Clinton, who’s been leading the way in our battle to insure every American,” said Senator Obama.

We are not sure whether we agree with the Wall Street Journal when they say that McCain has the edge with small business health insurance.

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