Special Thanks to SBAM Members on MBT Surcharge Repeal Letter

We would like to thank the more than 160 businesses who lent their name to our efforts to repeal the MBT surcharge.  You’ll recall that a couple of weeks ago, we sent out an alert for businesses to “sign” their name encouraging the Governor and the House to follow the Senate’s lead and support legislation to repeal the MBT surcharge.

The response from our members is greatly appreciated.  The effort was part of a broader coalition of business organizations joining together to support this issue.  The coalition’s goal was to obtain 1,000 signees.  Because of your efforts and those of other like-minded business owners, we were able to turn in more that 2,000 on the letter that was delivered to the governor and legislators earlier this week.

While there is agreement in the legislature that the MBT surcharge should be repealed,  agreement on how to do so remains a problem.  To date, the Senate Republicans have led on this issue.  We will continue to push this issue with members of the House, and keep you posted on updates.

Thanks again.

U.S House Passes Health Care Bill

In a rare Saturday session, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the House Democrats version of health care reform by a vote of 220-215.

SBAM opposes the House bill.  Among the reasons for our opposition are that it does little to contain the costs of healthcare, it includes an employer mandate and it places additional taxes on small businesses.

The Senate has yet to take up their plan but the goal of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is to do so before the end of the year.

Below is a synopsis of the current debate and the House and Senate bills.

Health Care Reform and Health Insurance Reform are both being discussed in Washington and while these two things are related, they are not interchangeable. 

Health Care Reform is reform of the delivery system and gets at things like the number of hospital borne infections, centers of excellence, the number of primary care doctors versus specialists, electronic medical records and e-prescribing.  It is reform of what is happening inside of the doctor’s office or hospital; this is where the debate started a few months back.

But today the debate seems to have shifted to Health Insurance Reform, which is reform of the financing system.  It is the conversation about who pays, what they pay for, individual and employer mandates, guarantee issue, pre-existing conditions, etc. 

In the House…

The U.S. House passed their version of health care/health insurance reform over the weekend.  The House Bill breaks down like this:

Cost:  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the 1,990 page bill would extend coverage to an additional 36 million people and has a price tag of $1.055 trillion over 10 years, with a net cost after tax increases and spending cuts of $894 billion. Remember, CBO estimates only the cost to the federal government, not what this new program may cost businesses, you and me – those of us that get to pay the bill.  Also, 10 years goes by in a flash, and many worry about the costs in the out years; there are no good cost estimates beyond 10 years. 

Public Option:  The bill calls for a new government run health insurance plan and CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf wrote that the plan “would typically have premiums that are somewhat higher than those private plans offered alongside of it.”  The bill goes on to prevent insurers from denying people with a pre-existing condition or dropping coverage when a subscriber gets sick.  So, assuming that you buy the argument that the biggest problem we face with health care is affordability, what does competition from a federal government health insurance plan with higher premiums actually get us?

Play or Pay:  For employers the bill requires that you “Play or Pay.” Employers that offer coverage are required to pay a minimum of 72.5% of the premium for individuals and 65% for families.  If an employer with payroll of $500,000 - $750,000 does not offer health insurance to his/her employees they face a fine of 2% of payroll (a fine of $10,000 to $15,000 a year).  For companies with payroll above $750,000 the fine increases to 8% of payroll.  This gets expensive in a hurry.  A company with a payroll of $800,000 would face a fine of $64,000 a year if they do not offer coverage to their employees. Assuming a small company can afford either, the big question will become, what is more expensive; health insurance premiums or paying the fine?  Companies with payroll below $500,000 would be exempt.

Individual Mandate:  For low income and middle income Americans the bill spends $605 billion to subsidize health insurance bought through a new government run health insurance exchange. Individuals are requi

Innovation Award entry deadline extended to Friday Nov. 13

Great news! You now have until Friday, Nov. 13 to enter your innovative product or service in this year’s Innovation Awards program (a part of Michigan Celebrates Small Business.) Any product or service launched in the past three years is eligible. Click here for more details and the entry form.


Listen to the recording to today's audio program on health insurance reform and Michigan small business owners

Scott Lyon, vice president small business services for SBAM, is one of the nation’s leading experts on small business health insurance and the current health insurance debate in Washington, D.C. He was interviewed today on BlogTalkRadio by SBAM's vice president communications Michael Rogers. Lots of great information and advice on what's likely to come out of Congress and what you need to do to get prepared.

Listen to the show by clicking here.


Earn statewide recognition for your innovative product or service

If your Michigan small business launched a new product or service in the past three years, you could win the 2009 Innovation Award – a part of the Michigan Celebrates Small Business recognition program. But hurry: the application deadline is Nov. 9.

Download the application form by clicking here.

The winning company will be recognized April 29, 2010, in front of nearly 1,000 people at the Michigan Celebrates Small Business event and dinner at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing.


What you don’t know could be bad for your health (insurance). Learn about and discuss federal health insurance reform proposals online Oct. 29 at 3:30 p.m. with SBAM expert Scott Lyon

Proposals under consideration in Congress could have a dramatic affect on health insurance options for you, your family and your Michigan small business employees. Get updated about the most likely scenarios by tuning in to and participating in this Oct. 29, 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET online audio conversation with Scott Lyon, vice president small business services for the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). Scott is one of the nation’s leading experts on small business health insurance and the current health insurance debate in Washington, D.C.

The discussion will be hosted by SBAM’s Vice President Communications Michael Rogers and conducted on BlogTalkRadio, an online service that lets you listen on your PC, phone-in questions to participate live or join a chat discussion.


Click here for more details.

Small Business Award Nominations Deadline Extended to Nov. 9

The nomination deadline for the sixth annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business (MCSB) recognition program for entrepreneurs and supporters of small business has been extended to Nov. 9. In addition, the application deadline for the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch has been extended to Nov. 23. Nomination forms are available now at


Michigan Celebrates Small Business is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Small Business Administration – Michigan, the Small Business Association of Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center and the Edward Lowe Foundation.


Award categories are Small Business Person of the Year, Entrepreneurial Success Award, Family-Owned Business of the Year, Small Business Exporter, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Financial Services Champion of the Year, Home-Based Business Champion of the Year, Michigan Small Business Counselor of the Year, Minority Small Business Champion of the Year, Small Business Journalist of the Year, Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year, Women In Business Champion of the Year, The Innovation Award, Main Street USA Best Small Business Award and Government Contracting Award. Nominations for these awards will be accepted through Nov. 9 at


The Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards include Michigan 50 Companies to Watch. This program is sponsored by the Edward Lowe Foundation and each year recognizes and celebrates the contributions, innovation and energy of 50 diverse second-stage companies in Michigan. Nominations are due Nov. 9 and can come from service providers (such as attorneys, bankers, accountants, public relations representatives, economic development offices, etc.) Companies may also self-nominate. Nominees will receive an e-mail with instructions to complete an online application that will be due Nov. 23. Winners will be recognized April 29, 2010, at the Michigan Celebrates Small Business event and dinner at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing.


Underwriters for this year’s Michigan Celebrates Small Business are National City (now a part of PNC), Clark Hill PLC Attorneys at Law, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Certified Development Corporation, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, IBM and Dynamic Edge Inc.


Media partners are MiBiz, Crain’s Detroit Business, Upper Peninsula Business Today, the Traverse City Business News,, WWJ Newsradio 950 and The Daily Dash, and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly.