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TIME on small business owners:Take your medicine!

It seems the writers and editors at Time Magazine can’t comprehend why small business owners would not want to have the Democrat’s House Health Care “Reform” bill enacted into law. Why wouldn’t these small business owners want to increase their regulatory and financial burden? Don’t they realize that we have 5-10 million people who legitimately cannot afford health insurance? Don’t they realize that their profits and the future of their businesses are just gifts given them by our magnanimous Federal Government?

I apologize for the sarcasm, but the article from Time’s website is ridiculous:

When it comes to finding quality, affordable health insurance, few have it worse than small-business owners and their workers shopping for coverage on the open market. They are charged the most per person, have the least amount of choice and, as a result, are some of the most likely to be uninsured.

Lawmakers know this, which is why many of the key elements in the health care bill just passed by the House — and being considered in the Senate — are aimed squarely at small business. A wide array of economists and health-policy experts say insurance reforms (like prohibiting insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions), a new transparent marketplace to shop for coverage and a government-run insurance plan all have the potential to help small business.

Nowhere does the article cite any source for its assertion that “a wide array of economists and health-policy experts” say these reforms will be helpful to business. This is simply presented as accepted common knowledge. Further, the article derides the arguments of the Chamber of Commerce (one of the White House staff’s favorite whipping-boys) and National Federation of Independent Businesses.

The NFIB, which represents mostly businesses with 10 or fewer employees and annual revenues of less than $500,000, says the public option “is an easy way out for legislators who decided to simply grow the size of government.” But when asked to elaborate on why members oppose the public option, Amanda Austin, the organization’s director of federal public policy, offered a fairly abstract answer: “Their fear is, ‘We don’t like the insurance industry, but we really don’t like the government.’ Their relationship with the government up until now has not been overly friendly.”

Yes, because fear and distrust of the government is the only reason to oppose this plan. It has nothing to do with the additional costs forced on small business owners who want to grow their company beyond the exemption level. It has nothing to do with navigating the regulatory nightmare that our health care system has already become, and which this bill portends to worsen with increased red tape and bureaucratic nonsense. Only fear of government explains why a business owner would oppose a Health Care “Reform” act proposed by Congress.

One central provision of the House bill could greatly mitigate these problems, by allowing small businesses — along with uninsured individuals — to purchase health insurance in a newly established national exchange. This marketplace would pool risk, streamline administrative costs, eliminate the need for expensive insurance brokers and allow small businesses to purchase coverage through a government-run insurance plan, also known as the public option.

What the article fails to adequately describe are the limitations and provisions for the exchange. Plans must be approved by the Government. Instead of a small business in Wyoming being able to purchase health insurance based upon the minimal insurance mandates in that state (and therefore lower average cost), they may now be forced into the exchange, with Federal mandates that the business can no longer escape. Such an exchange might (and I emphasize, might) decrease net costs, but the individual business owner could face increased costs due to the increased required coverage.

One of the reasons why risk pools for small business are so expensive is the state-by-state mandates. The risk of a patient getting cancer is actually quite low of the course of their life, though it increases as the person ages. The same goes for the risk of breaking a leg or an arm. Even emergency room visits are a relatively small risk pool.

What insurance mandates do is force these small risk pools together in a negative way: When the risk pool for broken leg is combined with the risk pool for cancer, the risk pool is not more efficient, it is simply more risky. If the likelihood of a broken leg in a given year is 2%, and the likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer is also 2%, combining those risk pools does not result in a larger risk pool of 2%. Cancer and a broken legs are generally exclusive. So the risk index has grown from 2% to a combined 3.99% (after all, some people who break their legs will also develop cancer). The more mandates that are added, the more the insurer is required to cover, the greater the cost fo the risk pool.

Like so many problems we face in our society, keeping the solutions local is a far better method than nationalizing them. The Federal minimum wage in Mississippi is a very different animal from minimum wage in New York. Similarly, health insurance where regulation and mandates are greater end up costing more. Rather than asking the Federal Government to fix what is largely a local problem, we as Americans need to embrace our Federal system and ask the states to individually cut the red tape associated with health care and insurance. As one state reduces the burden on the buyers and sellers of insurance and sees the reflected reduced costs, more states will see the benefit and do the same.

This of course is predicated upon separating the ideas of “health insurance” and “health maintenance,” but that is another topic altogether.

The editors of Time Magazine, however, don’t like the idea of small business owners choosing whether they are going to provide certain benefits. Allowing small business owners to run their own businesses in their own way in an effort to make a profit is immoral. Their ideological opposition to the free market and the expansion of the private sector makes them useful idiots as the politicos in Washington make their grab for more power over our daily lives, no matter how much debt we must incur or many jobs will be lost or how many businesses will be driven to oblivion.

Don’t bother them with trifles like 9th grade basic economics or example after example of government-run health care system failures. This is a Utopia we are trying to build!

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