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McKeon small business health plan shot down

Congressman’s attempt to protect small businesses rejected by Democrats

Posted: July 17, 2009 1:52 p.m.
Updated: July 17, 2009 1:52 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Early this morning, Democrats on the House Committee on Education and Labor opposed an amendment by Congressman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) that would have protected small businesses and working families by authorizing Small Business Health Plans.

McKeon's amendment was offered during the committee's markup of the House Democrats' health care proposal and aimed to make it easier for small businesses to associate with other businesses in their trade or industry, giving them increased bargaining power.

"Allowing small businesses to band together through associations and purchase quality health care for workers and their families at a lower cost empowers them to make decisions based on what ‘s best for them and their employees," McKeon said.

"Small Business Health Plans would increase small businesses' bargaining power with health care providers, give them freedom from costly state-mandated benefit packages, and lower their health care costs by as much as 30 percent - benefits that large corporations and unions already enjoy because of their larger economies of scale," he said.

Instead of supporting McKeon's amendment, Democrats chose to implement a "pay or play" mandate on small business that forces them to buy into health plans approved by government bureaucrats or to face the threat of an 8 percent tax.

The Democrat health plan brings together the most liberal of solutions to America's health care problems. Under the government plan a "Health Benefits Advisory Committee" would be established to make recommends on what constitutes as an "acceptable" plan. This proposed Committee would be headed by a political appointee to serve as the "Health Choice Commissioner."

"This new Health Choice Commissioner position proposed by House Democrats basically allows for a czar to wield power over all Americans' health care plans," McKeon said.

The ill-conceived Democrat plan would also establish a "public option" to be included in the newly formed "National Health Exchange." This public option would severely undercut private insurance, resulting in a loss of 4.7 million jobs and forcing tens of millions of Americans out of medial plans they like.

One centerpiece of the legislation is the taxes Democrats want to levy against individuals and employers that don't obtain or provide insurance deemed "acceptable" by government bureaucrats. Even if an individual decides not to obtain health insurance, an employer will be responsible for paying into the National Health Exchange in lieu of coverage for that individual.

Democrats made clear with their votes last night and this morning that their intent is to wreck private health insurance, eliminate choice and portability, and burden small business during these challenging economic times.

NOTE: The Education and Labor Committee is one of three panels that simultaneously voted on the Democrats' radical health care overhaul this week as their party's leaders try to meet an arbitrary deadline that would rush the legislation through the full U.S. House of Representatives before the end of this month.


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