I'll defer to National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB's) official statement, from Susan Eckerly, Senior Vice President:
"Today's Finance Committee vote is pivotal as we evaluate the future of comprehensive health-care reform. NFIB appreciates the many provisions in this package that reflect small businesses' needs, which are rooted in approaches that aim to lower cost, increase coverage options and provide real competition in the private marketplace.
"We commend committee members for ensuring that an employer mandate and public option were excluded from the revised package. While NFIB greatly appreciates efforts to hold the line on these issues, we have strong concerns that, moving forward, attempts will be made to weaken the framework established by the Finance bill. We deeply believe that if any of those attempts are successful, they will derail health-care reform altogether.
"This is the only comprehensive health-care reform bill that provides a meaningful pathway to achieve the goals long supported by NFIB, including:
-- Individual and Small Group Market Reforms - Federal rating reforms in the individual and small group markets are essential to any reform effort, and must include protections against pre-existing conditions. It is imperative that the variation for age, geography, family composition and personal behavior are preserved or strengthened, but not lowered, as this legislation moves forward.
-- Health Insurance Exchange - An exchange modeled on provisions under the SHOP legislation (S. 979) will improve competition, allow small businesses and individuals a broader choice of plans and create a simpler and more efficient way to purchase insurance.
-- National Plans/Interstate Sale of Insurance - Allowing national benefit plans to be purchased across state lines can and will produce competition. The interstate purchase of insurance has been proven to foster competition in the marketplace, and gives additional options to consumers.
"NFIB has been a constructive participant in the health-care debate and has spent more than a decade voicing our need for reform. As floor debate begins, small business must weigh the benefits of reform against the potential new costs of doing business. Small businesses will have a difficult time supporting a final health reform package if its long-term costs outweigh the benefits we have worked to secure.
"NFIB remains committed to supporting reform efforts that provide more affordable and accessible health-care options for small employers and their workers. It is essential that a final bill makes their core needs and common-sense solutions a priority."
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