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Dealer group gives thumbs down on looming health-care legislation

November 16, 2010

WASHINGTON — The slow-moving, headline-grabbing train that is national health-care reform passed the House Nov. 7, with one Republican joining 419 Democrats in support of the House measure.

The focus now is on the Senate, which has pledged to pass its version of the matter this year. But many business groups, including the National Automobile Dealers Association, oppose what is unfolding. In doing David Letterman better by half, the NADA produced a Top 15 list of reasons dealers should call their senators to oppose House Resolution 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

The NADA contends that H.R. 3962, if passed, would extract unfair taxes and increase health-care costs for dealers and their employees. The bill’s Senate version, the NADA charged, must not include cost increases and unreasonable mandates for small business dealers, who already are struggling to control health-care costs.

Among the NADA objections to H.R. 3962:

Employer mandate         
The bill includes an employer mandate that would require employers to offer health care to full-time and part-time employees. An employer mandate does not address the No. 1 issue facing small businesses: unsustainable costs.

Payroll tax penalty
Payroll taxes are an especially onerous tax because they tax labor. No matter how profitable or unprofitable a business might be, it is forced to pay this tax. The legislation requires that all employers with a payroll of $500,000 or more must pay payroll tax of up to 8 percent if they do not provide "qualified" health insurance to their employees.

Government-run public option
The public option outlined in H.R. 3962 fails to deliver what small employers have long sought: a reformed, private insurance marketplace that can provide businesses and employees with more affordable coverage and a sustainable choice of plans.

Instead, the public option is an "easy way out" for legislators who decided to simply grow the size of government. The National Federation of Independent Business is deeply concerned that a "public option" will further compromise the viability of private insurance and restrict choice to a single plan: the government-run plan, which ultimately would be funded on the backs of small businesses.

You can’t ‘keep what you have’
Despite assurances from elected officials and pundits, H.R. 3962 sets forth a new standard for what qualifies as employer-based coverage and requires all employer plans to meet that standard within five years. While you may "keep what you have" now, you probably can’t keep it forever.

Small employers exposed to more lawsuits
Throughout the text of H.R. 3962 there are "rules of construction" that provide "green lights" for trial lawyers seeking to file lawsuits against small employers.

The U.S. spends about 16 percent of its gropss domestic product on health care. Switzerland, at 11 percent, is second highest.

 

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