PPA Tells Senate: Health Care Bill Not Favorable to Small Businesses
As the health care debate unfolds in the Senate, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and its allied organizations tell senators that proposed health care legislation “costs too much and delivers too little.”
In a letter sent to the Senate, PPA joined the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Health Care to ask for H.R. 3590 -The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act to be made friendlier to the small business community. This bill represents a compromise between previously presented reform bills and H.R. 3962 Affordable Health Care for America Act, which was sent to the chamber last month.
The message being sent to the Senate is that the combination of provisions included in the bill are not likely to provide small businesses with the long-term relief needed to ensure continuous access to quality and affordable health care. Key points addressed in the letter include many of the same concerns brought up with the House of Representative’s passage of H.R. 3962:
- An employer mandate requires small business owners to offer health coverage to employees or pay potentially hefty penalties.
- New reporting requirements for tax purposes are expected to be burdensome and if improperly filed can lead to tax penalties.
- There is a lack of affordable health coverage choices despite easier navigation of the health care marketplace.
These aspects of the Senate bill and more are addressed in "A Conversation on Healthcare Reform" a teleforum sponsored by the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare.
Senators Invoke Cloture
Despite this expression of concern from the small business community, the Senate moved toward a cloture vote early Monday morning. Getting the requisite 60 votes needed to move the consideration of the bill forward opens up the potential for a vote before the Christmas recess.
The version of the bill that was moved ahead by the cloture vote does include provisions to improve small businesses’ abilities to access and manage health coverage, but it still continues to include measures burdensome to small business owners (as listed above). The improvement provisions include:
- Bumping the availability of tax credits up to 2010 from 2011.
- Making Small Business Administration Resource Partners eligible to receive “Awareness Grants” that will help business owners navigate exchanges.
- Requiring the Government Accountability Office to review the impact of health care exchanges on small businesses’ abilities to access affordable health care and to review the impact of this new policy.
- Redefining “full-time employee” status to 390 hours per calendar quarter (originally an average of 30 hours per week) to accommodate industries with high turnover or that are reliant on part-time and seasonal employees.
As the debate unfolds in the upcoming days we will keep you informed and urge you to take action to ensure that your voices are heard on Capitol Hill.
Ready to Take Action?
Need more information? View an issue-by-issue comparison of H.R. 3962 and H.R. 3590, created by the Kaiser Family Foundation at http://www.kff.org/healthreform/sidebyside.cfm.
If you want to communicate the importance of having access to affordable, quality health care, visit the Contact Congress page to email, call or write your senator. We have provided a sample phone script that you can use (and customize) to contact your senator today.
To learn how your congressman voted on H.R. 3962, click here for a full vote count by party and member.
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.