House Passage of Health Care Reform Bill.
SUMMARY: November 9, 2009 - The
United States House of Representatives passed
health care reform legislation.
AARP notified the 111th
Congress that it was tracking roll call votes on
key legislation important to its nearly 40
million members and reporting the outcomes of
these votes back to its members. "When
Americans understand the issues and where their
lawmakers stand, they can make smart decisions.
AARP will be there to give our members, as well
as all Americans, the most accurate information
we can," Collins concluded.
Akin, Todd (R-2) NO
Blunt, Roy (R-7) NO
Carnahan, John R. (D-3) YES
Clay, William Lacy (D-1) YES
Cleaver, Emanuel (D-5) YES
Emerson, JoAnn (R-8) NO
Graves, Samuel (R-6) NO
Luetkemeyer, Blaine (R-9) NO
Skelton, Isaac "Ike"
Care Reform Means For: Small Businesses.
by Sabrina Shankman and
Olga Pierce, ProPublica
Using results from a
questionnaire we did with American Public
Medias Public Insight Network, were
looking at how the proposed health care reforms
will actually affect people facing common health
care coverage situations. This is the second in a
Location: Fairfield, Conn.
Sales: $2 million annually Payroll: $384,000
Fairfield Lighting and Design
co-owner Sandy Zemola provides insurance for 10
out of 12 employees, but the economic downturn
has made it difficult to pay those bills.
Fairfield Lighting and Design
has been in business since 1972, but it is
struggling to cope with tough economic times. It
has 12 employees, whose average wage is about $20
an hour. Because of the recession, opportunities
to work overtime have dwindled, and the regular
hours of some employees have been cut.
The recession has also made it
difficult to keep paying their health care costs:
Fairfield offers health insurance to 10 of its
employees, at a company cost of $550 per employee
The costs to each employee are
relatively low. They pay only 20 percent of the
premium, or $110 per month. Their co-payments are
$15 to see a doctor or $500 for a hospital, and
medications cost them $15, $25 or $50, depending
on the type of drug.
But that could change.
Fairfield Lighting and Design was recently
notified that its coverage will be taken over by
a new company, probably around the beginning of
"Hopefully when this whole
thing goes through maybe we can find something
less expensive," DAgostino said.
"Otherwise the employees may have to
contribute a bit more."
What health care reform would
mean for them:
Two of the reform bills require
that employers provide some minimum health
insurance to employees or pay a penalty. The
exception is the Senate Finance Committee bill,
which has no employer requirement.
But small businesses are
exempt. Because Fairfield Lighting and Design has
only 12 employees and a payroll of less than
$500,000, it would not be required to provide
health insurance under any of the health reform
Each of the three bills gives
small businesses tax credits for several years to
provide relief from high insurance premiums until
more comprehensive reforms are in effect
until 2015 for the House bill, and 2017 in the
Senate Finance bill. The Senate health committee
bill would offer a credit until state exchanges
are up and runningup to three years. But
some plans offer a lot more help than others. The
health committee bill would offer Fairfield a tax
credit of about $10,000 per year. The others use
sliding scales based on employee income, and
because Fairfield pays near the top of those
scales, it would get a credit of only about
$5,000 under the House bill and $2,500 under the
Senate Finance Committee bill.
Small businesses would also
have the option under all three bills to buy
insurance through a health insurance exchange, a
pooling mechanism that would allow them to choose
from a menu of private plans, which the
Congressional Budget Office projects would be
cheaper than private plans currently out there
for small businesses.
Help wont arrive right
away under any of the proposals. The House bill,
which phases small businesses into the exchange
based on their size, would make Fairfield wait
until 2013. The Finance Committee plan would make
Fairfield wait even longer it wont
set up exchanges for small businesses until 2017.
The Senate health committee plan would authorize
the Health and Human Services secretary to start
giving grants to states to start up health care
exchanges right away, but it is unclear how
quickly states would move.