Is this the solution? Maybe. Possibly.
But at the very least, the Small Business CHOICE Act of 2008 is a few steps in the right direction.
What is the Small Business CHOICE Act of 2008?
According to the Kaiser Foundation:
The House Small Business Committee introduced a bill Wednesday that would help small businesses provide their employees health insurance by allowing the companies to form health insurance purchasing cooperatives and by offering them a refundable tax credit of 65% of the cost of the insurance, the Wichita Eagle reports.
Committee spokesperson Jaime Zapata said, "It's a bipartisan piece of legislation ... and it takes the best elements" of the plans of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) (McLoone, "Small Business," Washington Post, 7/23). Zapata said, "It has both tax elements and a pooling mechanism. Unlike other legislation, however, the CHOICE Act creates a cooperative that can work with existing state law" (Wichita Eagle, 7/24).
The few steps in the right direction are:
* Bi-partisan sponsors.
Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Small Business Committee, and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.).
* Best parts of McCain and Obama's solutions.
* Pooling members into buying coops with stronger negotiating power...much like big businesses have now with their large group plans where costs from member claims are spread over a larger number of members and their premium payments.
* Bite-sized approach. It's not attempting to solve all problems with our current health care system.
* Doable today. Hold on. It's going to take a lot of work. There will be stumbles along the way. People will be unhappy and angry. (That's not really news, these days.) But...the tax credits, the pooling of members into existing coops, incentivizing small business, makes it doable...today.
Small businesses are the backbone of innovation and job creation in our economy. In fact, small businesses employ a full half of all the private sector employees in the United States. They provide flexible environments that are often necessary as incubators of innovative. new ideas.
[ I liked this reminder of the importance of small business in our economy.]
US Restaurants Association (They support it.)
The restaurant industry applauds the health-care bill introduced today by Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez and Representative Joseph Pitts and commends them for their bipartisan leadership and commitment to providing small businesses access to affordable health-care options," said John Gay, senior vice president of government affairs and public policy for the National Restaurant Association. "With 13.1 million employees, restaurants are the nation's second largest private-sector employer, and health-care costs are a tremendous weight on the future viability of the industry. If passed into law, this legislation will directly help restaurateurs and their employees afford health insurance.
The International Franchise Association (IFA) today applauded House Small Business Committee Chair Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) for introducing the bipartisan Small Business "CHOICE" Act of 2008 to help small franchised businesses offer affordable health insurance to employees.