Keeping You Informed: The Health Care Debate Unfolds
PPA has its eyes on Capitol Hill as the health care debate changes from more targeted issues (finding ways to provide access and affordability) to implementing system-wide reforms.
Having returned from a health care focused visit to the Hill on June 15-16, we’re pleased to report that you can expect a high level of activity on the health care front as congressmen prepare to head to their home districts in August.
"The congressional offices we met with were interested in hearing photographers’ stories, and we were happy to share them,” said David Trust, PPA’s chief executive officer. “Health care is an issue that is important to members and their families, and PPA will be there to make sure photographers' voices are heard."
Our goal is to keep you informed so you understand how these proposed changes affect you and your business. Look for a health care survey in upcoming weeks, which will help us get you the right information and let Congress know what you're thinking.
Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare (SBCAH)
We continue to work, on your behalf, with the SBCAH to ensure that the voices of small business owners (like photographers) are taken into account as policies change. In a recent outreach and awareness effort, PPA and the Alliance of Visual Artists organizations joined the SBCAH in placing an advertisement in the June 23, 2009 issue of The Hill, a publication whose readership includes members of Congress and congressional staff.
Three Health Reform Proposals
PPA is currently tracking the following three health reform proposals:
- The Affordable Health Coverage for All Americans Act
- Senate Finance Committee Health Care Coverage Policy Proposals
- The Tri-Committee Health Reform Proposal in the House of Representatives
Each of these proposals includes provisions that overlap with the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Act (S. 979/H.R.2360), which was reintroduced in both the House, by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-3), and Senate, by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Provisions that PPA finds especially favorable are as follows:
- Allowing associations to act as "navigators," assisting members in accessing quality, affordable health care.
- Creating health care "exchanges" or pools that will provide more affordable options to buyers in small group or individual insurance.
- Preventing insurers from denying coverage based on health status, medical condition or disability.
- Offering tax credits for business owners and individuals to encourage participation in the private health care market.
Recent Health Care Hearings
Congressional committees held a number of hearings during the week of June 22. For instance, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a weeklong hearing to mark-up (debate, amend and rewrite) the Affordable Health Coverage for All Americans Act. Another hearing of interest was that of the House Committee on Education and Labor, focused on the Tri-Committee Health proposal. In the coming weeks, the Senate Finance Committee will hold additional hearings to further develop its own proposal.
As the debate unfolds, we will provide you with guidance to navigate the proposed health care legislation and help facilitate communication with your congressperson. These are decisions that affect every one of us both personally and as small business owners.
Keep Informed By…
Stay up to date on the health care debate as it happens. To watch web casts of health care proceedings, please visit the following websites:
- Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Mark-Up: http://help.senate.gov/Hearings/2009_06_17_E/2009_06_17_E.html
- Senate Committee on Finance: http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/hearings.htm (See 5/12/2009 Roundtable Discussion)
- House Committee on Education and Labor Hearing: http://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/2009/06/the-tri-committee-draft-propos.shtml
You can also stay plugged into each Committee’s website with a comparison tool created by The Kaiser Family Foundation.
Ready to Act?
If you’re ready to start talking to your congressman or senator today, we encourage you to visit the "Contact Congress" page, under the Copyright & Advocacy tab at www.ppa.com. Simply enter your ZIP code to send an email to their respective health care staff.
In addition to representing members on copyright issues, PPA is a strong advocate on small business issues, primarily relating to health care. Through the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare, PPA advocates health care solutions that meet the needs of small business owners, employees, the self-employed and their families. In previous congressional sessions, PPA has supported various health reform bills, in particular those that would provide trade associations the ability to create insurance pools on behalf of its members.