The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Health Care

Obama Emphasizes Health-Care Impact on Small Business

By Michael D. Shear
President Obama continued his campaign on behalf of health-care reform Saturday by focusing his radio and Internet address on the impact of insurance costs on small businesses.

The president said that many small businesses are forced to offer less generous health care plans, dropped coverage or shut their doors because they cannot afford the rising cost of care.

"This is unsustainable, it's unacceptable, and it's going to change when I sign health insurance reform into law," he vowed.

The focus on small business is a direct response to Republican attacks, which have focused increasingly on what they say will be the negative effects of a health care overhaul on small business.

The GOP argues that the need to raise taxes to pay for Obama's health-care reform will fall disproportionately on small businesses, forcing them to cut jobs at a time when the economy is reeling.

But Obama countered in his address that the tax increases under consideration by the congressional Democrats will not hit small businesses unfairly.

The president -- who was knocked off his message for two days by the discussion of race sparked by his comments about the arrest of his friend Henry Louis Gates Jr. -- attempted to return to his main point.

"Now I know there are those who are urging us to delay reform. And some of them have actually admitted that this is a tactic designed to stop any reform at all," he said in the radio address. "Some have even suggested that, regardless of its merits, health-care reform should be stopped as a way to inflict political damage on my administration. I'll leave it to them to explain that to the American people."

Posted at 6:00 AM ET on Jul 25, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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I don't think there is any question that healthcare needs to be fixed. There is information out Newt Gingrich...he has been on a healthcare committee for 6 yrs. constructing healthcare reform. Mainstream media doesn't want you to think we have any ideas. Wrong! I see this dilema from both the small business side, as I own my own company, but I also work for Kroger part time for my health insurance. Obama and Congress is lying when they tell you you can keep your insurance. Either my employer is going to bail, because Obama's plan is cheaper (unfairly funded with your tax dollars to "compete" who can compete with that?) and / or my insurance company is going to go bust, because of same. Would I bother to keep my business going if the government came into my field and undercut me by 30%??? I'm barely making a profit as it is with all the insurance, state taxes, etc. competing with illegals.......but it's MY business and I run it. The government is NOT going meddle in my day to day decisions. I pay my taxes, now get out of my life!

Posted by: pat25 | July 27, 2009 7:14 PM

The Village Principal

Aaahhhh, the blissful hubbub of life in the village, where the little purple pill is an accepted “fix”, we credulously believe that the FDA is concerned for our well being and where we can affordably “spend” an entire lifetime destroying our bodies while apathetically expecting that the village elders will later pay to have them revamped. If we spent as much of our personal money maintaining our “miraculous” vessels as we do buying into the fast-food industry or the antacid “bailout” that we vacuously use to counter our ill fated investment, it is possible that life’s consequences might take on a new definition. “The problem” is not the village as much as it is its membership. The true spirit of humanity is always revealed when villagers count their money.

The machinations of a Party should drive a nation beyond seeking sophomoric popularity on a fickle world stage and beyond achieving a personal or racial legacy. A gifted patriot relentlessly searches for a higher standard. Produce a leader, not a mascot. Principles must be reinstated. Demand retribution for avaricious abuses against the honest vitality of the American, which for decades has been unforgivably forgotten and neglected.

Ironically, higher principles, like abuses, feed on money. We must pay if we believe in our way of life, yet guard against parasitical social dependency. Add fidelity and direction to proposed tax initiatives. Additionally, I suggest placing a surcharge on unhealthy items in fast food restaurants, and all other vices (such as alcohol and tobacco) which aid in the destruction of Health. Those who characteristically continue to burden “their systems” should logically pay for “The System”. This should further Obama’s once idealistic yet pragmatic political dogma, “You are responsible for yourself and your life”, (which won him popularity and the enduring title “the man of change”)….or are his presidential advisers now esoterically advising him against such fatuous notions. Aaahhhh, how quickly the building blocks of idealism and change find themselves as headstones mounted in the graveyard of politics.

Welcome to the village, President Obama.

Karen Engle

Posted by: KEngle2009 | July 27, 2009 8:22 AM

Some small businesses, in some states even offer two different wages for the same job, with insurance or without.
.. One upside. There will probably be more self employed citizens, if nothing is done. If increasing numbers of people go this way, what insurance can they afford? Would that be zip?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 26, 2009 7:53 PM

The 8% surtax on small business with effectively close most startups. Why should I expand my business and work 60 hours a week to support poor people or illegal aliens. Let Obama run a small business.

Posted by: rmoonin | July 26, 2009 6:34 PM

I took a look last week and the premiums for my small business have gone up by 70% per employee since we stared the business in 2001. I'm not sure that health care can be reformed to cost us less, but I don't think we can go on with these increases in cost. My employees have the best care that I won't be able to afford to provide for them if the cost keeps going up. I think it's great that people in the health care business can make a great living, but their draw on our nations income is making it harder for me to do the same.

Posted by: ThomasFiore | July 26, 2009 6:17 PM

I personally wished President Racist to worry more about my Mental and Financial Health-Than my Physical Health!

Suicidal Thoughts due to the Stress of being left to Die in a Destroyed Economy, where illegals get more help than many struggling Americans;

tend to make concerns about Health Insurance that will still not cover the Bills a VERY Bad Joke!

Worst President EVER!

Posted by: SAINT---The | July 26, 2009 3:33 PM

This fraud should be called "Pay, but not play for seniors". Their idea of saving is to deny treatment for those over 59 like in The UK.
Too bad that doesn't include members of Congress like the drunken submarine commander who should be denied coverage because of "life-style choices" as written into this thing....

Posted by: TexRancher | July 26, 2009 7:59 AM

while i don't like people dying,
i would say that we are paycheck to paycheck poor, if we are lucky enough to have a job.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 26, 2009 7:57 AM

Obama knows how to waste our time. Look buddy, get it into your empty head, we are all poor and need a threshold for free medical and dental care and that threshold should be set at all persons within U.S. borders earning under $42,000.00 per annum get free medical care and dental care. The new Medisave Levy is based on 1.75% of every persons income thus you can have private medical care but still pay the national levy - Problem Solved - Move to the next stand, please. Grow up Obama, people are dying.

Posted by: kingsley_ferdinands2005 | July 26, 2009 1:22 AM


I am wearing my tin foil hat as per your instructions. I await my assignment for today. Should we check the neighborhood for agents?

Posted by: seemstome | July 25, 2009 9:23 PM

there are no targets today.
there are no buttons to push (for pushing it)

there is too much hate spewing

no one gets 10 minutes today

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 25, 2009 5:32 PM

Obama is a joke as is his health care plans. The guy outright lies to get what he wants. We're goint to trust health care to the bureaucrats who accidentally erased the original moon landing tapes and believe they can do it more efficiently than the private sector? What a joke.

Posted by: DaMan2 | July 25, 2009 4:08 PM




• President Obama must dismantle the nationwide GPS-activated extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" and remove from power the federal officials who continue to oversee it.

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 25, 2009 4:02 PM

So let the public know ALL details of the plan before it is passed! Where are the Republican proposals displayed? Did I hear someone mention that Republicans proposed about 160 such proposals? What are they, where can I see them, and to what extent are the Democrats considering them?
In the event that this Health Care Reform gets passed without review by the general public (no TRANSPARENCY), there will be hell to pay, and we will have some brand new congressmen come next election!

Posted by: SeniorVet | July 25, 2009 3:19 PM

What a stinking disappointment Obama has turned out to be as president.

Posted by: georgejones5 | July 25, 2009 2:46 PM


I DON'T BRAKE FOR INSURANCE COMPANY LOBBYISTS........neither should our legislators.

Posted by: rooster54 | July 25, 2009 2:18 PM

Worshipping money is going to cost you.

Posted by: rooster54 | July 25, 2009 1:54 PM

The socialist Marxist are coming!!!! Aggghhh!

Hurry, before they take away your prisons, and F-22s! Watch out, they'll raise your wages, give tou scienced based education, and make sure your kids can see the doctor when they need to! Agghh!

All of you who know that Marxism and socialism are the driving force behind the foreign-born dictator have no choice but to swallow your cyanide capsules now! Do it!

It's too late. Leave America now. Let the socialist democrats live with their decisions. Please. Please leave us, er I mean them, to live in their welfare state without you their to leech, er I mean, support them.

Go now!

Posted by: rooster54 | July 25, 2009 1:52 PM

Obama is a liar who is interested in one thing, self promotion.
He doesn't give a hoot about small business, workers or our private enterprise system. He's trying todestroy it and create a Marxist state.

The dishonest turdhead can't tell the American people the truth, so he lies and the phonies in the media regurgitate it.
When has anything the government provides ever cost less than what the private sector can do it for??


You class envy clods who just want the government to pay for everything are sickening.

Posted by: LarryG62 | July 25, 2009 1:26 PM

Obama's plan for the country doesn't include helping private enterprise; he is only interested in establishing a Marxist state.

Posted by: tsapp77 | July 25, 2009 12:27 PM

I think the bar being set at $250,000 for the 8% non coverage charge is set too low. Most start ups fail and there is more chance of success without an 8% hit. Bring the payroll up to $750,000 or some combination of employees and salary to let the small guy grow to where he can handle the 8%. A better funding stream would be a graduated capital gains tax starting at a million and maxing out to 35% on 200 million gains. Meicaid/medicare payment schedules should not underpay to have care at a loss, since doctors make up the difference with extra tests and billing for the loss. Auditing should be 1% of medicaid/medicare cost opposed to the inept 1/5 of 1% now that has widespread fraud. Instead of Tort reform caps, remember all court settlements are less than 1% of all medical cost with doctors paying multiples of that in malpractice insurance and medical costs multiplied with extra testing. Let doctors self insure nationally with medical boards to set rates and weed out inept doctors or practices at facilities. In our for profit healthcare system specialists graduate at a 2-1 ratio to GPs because they earn more, the opposite of the rest of the world. The more tests a specialist performs the more coin he makes is also true of hospitals that knowingly perform duplicate tests on patients by different doctors. We spend more than anyone on healthcare yet rate 37th in life expectancy and 17th overall in quality of healthcare. NY spends more per capita than CA with no better results due to the number of medical personell. A GP will monitor a bump on the head with no signs of concussion. A neurologist will order CAT scan, MRI and who knows what else and charge to view every test. Care is already rationed by the insurance companies for more profit, patients underinsured or uninsured, with hospital emergency rooms footing the uninsured cost which is passed to the consumer. Uniform national billing standards would create a paperless billing system saving doctors countless hours. Non-profits being all banded together into cooperatives can maximize facility use and create bulk buying not only to big pharma, but supplies, facility management and insurance too. Maximizing facility use will also lower costs since in network testing, diagnosing etc. is now a mishmosh of profit and non-profit. I believe with for profits taking their fair share of existing conditions will make the non-profit cheaper and drive the competition out. With over 50% of healthcare for profit today and people healthy but unhappy about the bang for the buck, change must take place in steps by showing non-profit as the cheaper solution.

Posted by: jameschirico | July 25, 2009 11:25 AM

Because of inflated health insurance costs, small businesses

can’t afford to have the best workers.

Many people would prefer to work in a small business,

but need health insurance.

I support HR676 because everybody would be covered.

People could work for a small business, or even start one.

Posted by: Gabrielina | July 25, 2009 10:38 AM

Socialism is anathema to a true American.
Ask any firefighter, policeman, librarian, garbageman - they all know what an evil socialism is in this country.
Except when they go to get their paycheck.
If socialism is such a bad idea, why couldn't Bush pass social security reform with a republican majority in both houses?
Why couldn't he get people to accept private accounts? He should have had the votes.
People like social security. They like fire protection, police protection, libraries etc. to be kept out of private hands who operate for profit.
They would like public health care as well.
They are being force fed the insurance corporation lies by all the media and their representatives are on the money train.

Posted by: seemstome | July 25, 2009 10:04 AM

Also to me, this entire argument is mute. Will small businesses pay more money than they currently do. Probably. But guess what, THEIR EMPLOYEES WILL HAVE INSURANCE!

There is no such thing as a free lunch. At least, the plan includes this exchange to soften the blow somewhat.

Also, think about the benefit to the taxpayer (and small business owner) in the long run. As fewer and fewer people end up in emergency rooms without care, EVERYONE's costs go down.

Come on people get it together.

Posted by: ChrisStewart | July 25, 2009 10:01 AM

I had pretty to much tried to stay clear of the health care debate, but it seems that nothing will get done if more folks don't participate.

Look people, the current system DOESN'T work. We can nit-pick parts of Obama's plan to death. But the truth is, it is a pretty good plan, and more importantly it is a start.

We are probably not going to get health care reform right on the first try. But if we don't try, nothing will ever change. No one (I mean no one) wants things to stay the same.

Health care reform needs to happen before the end of the year!

Posted by: ChrisStewart | July 25, 2009 9:57 AM

It's no exaggeration. Small businesses like mine are threatened by lack of access to affordable health insurance. Skyrocketing premiums, denials of coverage and exclusions for pre-existing conditions, are pushing us to the brink.

Posted by: markshepherdstown | July 25, 2009 9:55 AM

It is just becoming increasingly more difficult to really trust and believe what comes out of the White House. The first question that pops into my mind now is, "What is their angle, and how are they trying to spin this issue in parsing words?"


Posted by: wheeljc | July 25, 2009 9:53 AM

Private enterprise is the vitality of the American economy, but this does not coincide with Obama's vision for America. He wants a Marxist state. All forms of business endeavors will be punished by Obama's health care plan.

Posted by: tsapp77 | July 25, 2009 9:32 AM

Small businesses are very important to creating new jobs especially following a recovery.Now Obama wants to punish businesses, small and large, because private enterprise is an anathema to his Marxist philosophy.

Posted by: tsapp77 | July 25, 2009 8:38 AM

it's the Healthcare Exchange (for small businesses, etc).
surprised WaPO, that you didn't use the title.

it's a great idea.

along with denials based on pre-existing conditions.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 25, 2009 8:38 AM

I do not think President Obama's plans will help those of us who work for small businesses. We will be forced to keep the inadquate health insurance plans that we are stuck with now, and we won't be allowed into the public option. Obama's proposed reforms are inadequate, and they will not truly reform the health care system. We need single-payer universal health care now! Urge members of Congress to reject the Obama plans and support House Bill 676, which will expand Medicare and provide it to everyone.

Posted by: alivo | July 25, 2009 8:16 AM

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