44 The Obama Presidency
Obama: Health Insurance Reform Would Help Small Business
By Scott Wilson
President Obama used his weekly radio address Saturday to appeal to small business owners, arguing that his health-care reform plans would push down the cost of insurance coverage they provide to employees.
As Congressional Republicans warn that Obama's health-care reform goals would raise taxes on the middle class, the president said the state-run insurance exchanges contained in legislation now moving through the Senate would save small businesses money.
Obama said that, because they have less bargaining power, small businesses spend 18 percent more on average than large companies for the same insurance plans.
He said the proposed insurance exchanges would provide small businesses with "a marketplace where they can compare the price, quality and services of a wide variety of plans, many of which will provide better coverage at lower costs than the plans they have now."
Under the plan, Obama said, small businesses would not be required to cover employees. But those that did would receive a tax credit to help them buy insurance polices through the exchanges.
"Rising health-care costs are undermining our businesses, exploding our deficits, and costing our nation more jobs with each passing month," he said. "So we know that reforming our health insurance system will be a critical step in rebuilding our economy so that our entrepreneurs can pursue the American Dream again, and our small businesses can grow and expand and create new jobs again."
Obama noted that the Senate Finance Committee this week finished its work on health-care legislation, and he predicted that "a vigorous debate" will unfold as the Senate and House prepare for floor votes.
"I expect us to move forward with a spirit of civility, a seriousness of purpose, and a willingness to compromise that characterizes our democratic process at its very best," Obama said. "If we do that, I am confident that we will pass reform this year, and help ensure that our entrepreneurs, our businesses, and our economy can thrive in the years ahead."
Posted at 6:00 AM ET on Oct 3, 2009
44 The Obama Presidency
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