Resources

Health Care – Focus on Market-Based Reforms (SBAM policy backgrounder)

By Scott Lyon, Vice President Small Business Services

SBAM’s position on health care issues recognizes the important economic role that small businesses play and the current status of health care issues in our country. Historically, SBAM (as an organization of small businesses) has favored incremental market-based reforms that encourage participation of consumers and purchasers. As one of the nation’s largest small company group-purchasing programs, our experience and those of other small business organizations show that many of the access, and some affordability, problems can be addressed through market-based reforms. If we are serious about reform, we must be dedicated to the empowerment of the people who pay the bills – the customers.

We believe that much good could come through a package of reform that includes four key areas:

  1. Cost Controls – electronic medical records, e-prescribing, reducing waste, fraud and abuse; providing comparative data on health costs, success rates, infection, morbidity and mortality rates inside facilities, favorable tax treatment for whomever pays the premium.
  2. Individual Responsibility - SBAM supports an individual mandate as a way to reduce costs by getting those that should be insured into the risk pools. No more waiting until you are sick to buy insurance or push costs to the insured.
  3. Insurance Reform – including moving to guaranteed issue with limited or no pre-existing conditions and very strict rules around re-underwriting or recession of a plan.
  4. Medical Malpractice/Tort Reform – here we are not just talking about the cost of medical malpractice insurance and the awards granted by juries. Just as important are the billions of dollars spent annually on defensive medicine.

We believe that taken as a package, these four steps could significantly reduce the cost of insurance for small businesses and individuals.

Now, assuming you agree with that statement, why is more not being done, or better yet, why have we as a nation been struggling with question for the better part of 20 years? Well, here is one Washington insider’s take on this issue. As you read through these statements, think about what you are hearing from the President, Congress and varying special interests across the spectrum:

  • The U.S. health care system is so complex that a two-to-five year period of discussion is not long enough to achieve a successful policy solution to most problems.
  • The ideological positions of the Republicans and Democrats are so opposed and so strongly held by lawmakers that few can accept as valid a compromise bill that would use elements of both positions to address a problem.
  • The power of competing industry, consumer and other interest groups in our money-dependent political system is so strong that no “compromise” bill is acceptable if it can be perceived by one interest group to give greater weight to the concern of other competing groups.
  • Because some health issues poll strongly with voters, members of one party – usually the minority party – prefer to keep the issue alive to attract voters in an upcoming election rather than seeing a limited measure enacted into law.
  • There is general unspoken agreement that it is not important to produce actual law on some matters; simply keeping the issue on the burner with ongoing discussions between lawmakers and interest groups can lead to real-world changes that make a difference that are market-driven, not government-driven.
  • Despite grousing by some, the U.S. health care system has no problems major enough to warrant large, federally-driven solutions.
  • Policymakers who are deeply concerned about the outcome of a given issue fear that once it has been dealt with through a modest consensus measure, the probabi

Small Business Champion Podcast: Progress or Treading Budget Water? (5:52)

This week, SBAM's Vice President Communications Michael Rogers talks with SBAM’s Vice President Government Relations David Palsrok about recent developments in the battle to balance the state budget. Click here to listen. The weekly Small Business Champion podcast is the place where you can get the scoop on what’s really happening in Lansing and Washington, D.C., and what it means to your bottom line.

Granholm plan called "repeat of same budget behavior"

Statement from Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, in reaction to the state budget plan released today by Gov. Granholm:

“Small business owners are concerned that the plan is mostly a repeat of the same budget behavior we’ve seen in previous years: a mix of cuts, tax hikes and so-called loophole closings. We’ve seen that recipe before and it’s not getting any more palatable. The long term future of this state depends on greater state government efficiency and lower spending. As we noted in a series of statewide press conferences on Sept. 8, we urgently need to significantly reform state government and not continuously apply Band-Aid solutions.”

 


Video: Michigan business groups speak with unified voice calling for state budget reforms

A press conference was held at the State Capitol in Lansing on Tuesday, Sept. 8 by the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and other members of Michigan’s business community to demand that reforms, not tax increases, become the focus of discussions to balance the state budget. Similar press conferences were also held in Grand Rapids and Detroit.

Click below to watch the press conference in Lansing (6:09)




Rob Fowler, President, Small Business Association of Michigan; Kristen Beltzer, Vice President, Government Relations/Public Policy, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce; Sarah Hubbard, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Detroit Regional Chamber; Jim Holcomb, Vice President, Business Advocacy & Associate General Counsel, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; and Bill Martin, CEO, Michigan Association of Realtors spoke at the Lansing press conference.

Small Business Champion: Dire State Budget Crisis Looms (5:55)

This week, SBAM's Vice President Communications Michael Rogers talks with SBAM’s Vice President Government Relations David Palsrok about the looming state budget crisis and the high stakes facing small business. Click here to listen. The weekly Small Business Champion podcast is the place where you can get the scoop on what’s really happening in Lansing and Washington, D.C., and what it means to your bottom line.

Healthcare Town Hall meetings scheduled

Michigan Congressmen are hosting Healthcare Town Hall meetings across Michigan. Small business owners are urged to attend and share your views on federal health care reform.  

Rep. Pete Hoekstra
Monday, Aug. 31
7 – 8 PM – Doors open at 6:30 PM
Evergreen Commons
480 State Street
Corner of Michigan Ave and State Street
Grand Rapids
For info:  676-395-0030

 


Rep. Gary Peters
Tuesday. Sept. 1
6 – 8 PM
West Bloomfield High School
4925 Orchard Lake Rd
West Bloomfield
For info: 248-273-4227

 


Rep. Bart Stupak
Two televised call-in town halls this week. Details to be announced.

 


Rep. Dale Kildee
Wednesday, Sept. 9
8 PM
Telephone Town Hall
Call 800-662-2685 for invitation information.

The Small Business Champion Podcast: Pending Small Business Issues in the State Legislature (5:45)

This week, SBAM's Vice President Communications Michael Rogers talks with SBAM’s Director of Government Relations Mike Batterbee about the status of several small business issues that are pending in Michigan's legislature. Click here to listen. The weekly Small Business Champion podcast is the place where you can get the scoop on what’s really happening in Lansing and Washington, D.C., and what it means to your bottom line.

 


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