Small business debates House health reform

    Companies struggle to offer health benefits but want different fixes

    The small business sector is divided over the the House health-care reform plan. A national lobbying group says it includes mandates and taxes that will hurt growing companies.

    Listen: [audio:090729tehealth.mp3]

    Bob Prybutok leads a manufacturing firm in Newark, Delaware and is a local member of the National Federation of Independent Business. He says the plan for a public health insurance option is the wrong approach.

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    Prybutok: The government is overreaching in too many areas of our lives. I would like someone to point out one thing the government does cost effectively and efficiently.

    Prybutok says health reform is needed, but he wants lawmakers to allow small businesses in different states to band together and negotiate for better health insurance rates.

    In New Jersey, another small business coalition, called the Main Street Alliance, favors a public plan. The alliance says private health insurance companies spend too little on health benefits and too much on administrative costs.

    Alliance member Jeffery Washington owns barbershops in Pemberton and Fort Dix. He says, right now, most of his workers could not afford their share of the cost if he did offer health insurance. Member says they need an alternative to the limited and costly plans available from private insurance companies.

    Washington: I think that the public plan will even out the playing field, so that even as small business people we can offer a reasonable package that might be available only in a larger group such as the school system or state employees, and that we might be able to offer those type of healthcare options to our employees.

    But Prybutok says a public health insurance option is a first step toward a nationalized health care that will push private companies out of the marketplace.

    Prybutok: Any country with nationalized health care limits healthcare coverage, wait lists get extended, and innovation gets stifled. We have the best healthcare in the world and our politicians want to ruin it.

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