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Small Business Health Care Options Program

Senators Durbin, Snowe, and Lincoln Introduce S. 979, “The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)”

On May 5, 2009, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) introduced legislation designed to make health insurance more available and affordable for the 14.0 million self-employed individuals, as well as the 47.0 million employees of the nation’s 5.9 million small businesses, for consideration in the upcoming Congressional health care reform debate.

S. 979, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), addresses the number one problem for many small businesses and the self-employed, the high cost of providing health care coverage, by:

  • Allowing the self-employed and small businesses to band together across state lines and spread the risk over a large number of participants in order to obtain lower premiums.

  • Providing tax credits for the self-employed and small business owners to offset contributions to employee premiums.

  • Banning health status rating in order to protect the self-employed and small businesses from large rate increases.

“NAR, for many years, has been advocating changes to the U.S. healthcare system that will make health care insurance more available and affordable to millions of self employed individuals and small businesses. We believe that the SHOP Act, reintroduced today by Senator’s Durbin, Snowe and Lincoln, recognizes the unique challenges that face the nation’s self-employed who have no employer to contribute to the cost of their health insurance premiums. The SHOP Act’s reform concept provides a workable blueprint that must be incorporated into the larger debate and legislation of reforms to this nation’s health care system,” said Charles McMillan, NAR’s President.

A diverse coalition of stakeholders from across the political spectrum and each with their own priorities for broader reform have joined together to support the SHOP bill. In addition to NAR, the bill was also endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business, tthe Service Employees International Union, the National Partnership for Women & Families, Families USA, and the National Restaurant Association.

Source: NAR – The Washington Report, May 11, 2009

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