Democrats offer small business health bill
WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) — U.S. Senate Democrats, led by Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced legislation Tuesday they say will help small businesses offer health insurance to employees.
The Democrats, in a release, said they plan to offer their measure as an alternate to a bill offered by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., when the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee meets Wednesday. Enzi is chairman of the committee and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., one of 21 co-sponsors of Durbin’s bill, is the ranking member.
The Democratic measure, called the Small Employers Health Benefits Program, is designed to “give small businesses affordable choices among private health insurance plans and expand access to healthcare coverage for their employees.”
The program would allow small business to pool purchasing power and spread risk over a large number of participants. Employers would qualify for a tax credit to help offset contributions for low-income employees.
Enzi’s bill would allow businesses and trade associations to band members together and offer group health coverage on a national or statewide basis.