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Latino Information Group President: Major Health Insurance Reform Benefits 98% Of Hispanic Businesses

 

 
 
 Government   Sun, March 21, 2010 06:30 PM

 

Atlanta, GA – Negotiations are done, and a final health insurance reform proposal is at the table.  While clearly the health reform compromise has its flaws, the costs faced by our community and small businesses are so great and the need for reforms in the small group insurance market so urgent, that the benefits outweigh the costs for the Hispanic Tech and Small business community. 

 

LISTA is concerned of the failure to address federal health information technology initiatives and the policies that will impact the doctors who treat the needs of underserved populations, statistics show that EHR adoption among doctors who treat the latino community is typically lower and slower than adoption among other doctors, however LISTA will support passage and urges Congress to vote in favor of the Health care reform bill. 

 

Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association on behalf of the 3,500 members and 65,000 subscribers nationwide, we want to express our deep concern over the future of health care costs.  America’s Hispanic tech industry and small businesses are facing a crisis. While small businesses may drive the economic engine of the nation by creating 79 percent of our net new jobs, obtaining affordable and accessible health care is one of the top problems facing Hispanic small businesses in this country.  That is why we support the compromise health reform bill and urge its adoption.

 

Small business health insurance premiums are unaffordable, having risen 113 percent over the last 9 years – a growth rate of nearly 9 percent annually. Small businesses pay on average 18 percent more in premiums than larger-sized companies. Add to this the complex and time consuming task of administering health benefits and lack of choice in many consolidated insurance markets, and the result is a small business health care crisis. 

 

This crisis in affordable health insurance is also evident in the 9 percent drop from 68 to 59 percent in employer sponsored insurance coverage among small businesses from 2000-2007, and this trend has only worsened in the current economy.  Due to rising costs, over the past two years, half of small businesses that offered coverage have been forced to switch to plans with higher out-of-pocket costs, one-third have switched to plans with fewer services, and an additional 12 percent have dropped coverage altogether.

 

 The nature of the small- and non-group insurance markets has made small businesses and the self-employed a captive consumer that is forced to “take it or leave it” when it comes to the yearly double-digit percentage increases in premiums. These are problems that can only be addressed through the establishment of pooling mechanisms and tax incentives to provide affordable coverage.

 

While clearly the health reform compromise has its flaws, the costs faced by our small businesses are so great and the need for reforms in the small group insurance market so urgent, that the benefits outweigh the costs for the Hispanic business community.  Nearly 98 percent of our Hispanic businesses will benefit from tax cuts and reduced premiums due to the exchange while facing no threat of an employer mandate penalty.  While we oppose the use of an employer mandate and the penalties associated with it – they are at least limited to larger businesses and to only 2 percent of Hispanic businesses.

 

As business owners, we know well the concept of opportunity cost.  The rate of premium growth has become such a burden to our businesses that we are required to support this flawed compromise rather than see premiums double, or triple, once again as they have done this decade.  As an organization that believes in free market solutions, this decision was not taken lightly.  But, the fact remains that the small business components in this compromise bill will provide real relief – a small business exchange that pools risk while respecting the free market and tax credits to incentivize those businesses that are just within reach of providing health care to their workers.  Real and immediate solutions, although flawed, are better than promises of what could happen someday.  In the most literal sense, our businesses cannot afford to wait any longer.  That is why we support this bill and urge its passage.

 

Jose A. Marquez-Leon is President of the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association

 

CONTACT: 
jam@a-lista.org


STORY TAGS: latino, health, insurance, reform, hispanic, business, benefit, health, insurance, black radio network, minority news, list



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