Bearing the Brunt

The average cost of health insurance premiums has nearly doubled since 2000. While corporations and large businesses have been best equipped to weather the insurance premium storm, small businesses have been abandoned, left to fend for themselves on an increasingly slanted playing field.

Small business is the backbone of our economy, providing jobs and fulfilling the American dream for so many entrepreneurs. But, our health care policies force small business to bear the brunt of health care costs, effectively killing the American dream for so many.

Perhaps that’s why I get so disillusioned when I hear public officials talk about the importance of small business, only to turn around and hurt said American Economic Backbone by supporting the status quo.

Firms in Taiwan, or Germany, or Denmark have an incredible advantage over small businesses in the United States. In fact, a person starting a small business, today, in one of the aforementioned countries does not even have to consider health care as a major line item in their budget.

Can you imagine how much more competitive American small businesses would be if they were not forced to agonize over health care costs?

This is not to say we must retrofit American health coverage with a system from another country. No, we have a uniquely American problem with our system-a problem that requires an evidence-based, American solution.

At least one solution appears to be gaining traction in a few states, and in Congress. That solution is based on the old adage of power in numbers.

The basic concept is to allow small businesses, perhaps even across state lines, to form purchasing pools. The larger pools would help mitigate risk and thus lower costs.

Predictably, insurance companies are against the idea, blocking it in state capitals across the country. You can bet that when federal legislation on small business purchasing pools is introduced next year, the insurance lobby will be out in full force.

As small businesses in United States continue to bear the brunt of rising insurance premiums, they must look past the rhetoric and discover who’s ready to fight on behalf of their interests.

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