Companies Speak Out on Healthcare Reform Concerns
August 13, 2009
Current healthcare reform bills introduced by Congress have received
mixed reviews by Americans, particularly regarding the impact it
could have on small businesses, which includes many glass companies.
According to President Obama's July 25 weekly address, under the
reform plans in Congress, small businesses will be able to purchase
health insurance through an 'insurance exchange,' a marketplace
where they can compare the price, quality and services of a variety
of plans. He explained that small businesses choosing to insure
their employees will also receive a tax credit to help them pay
For those employers electing to not provide health benefits, section
412 of House Bill, H.R.3200 states that in addition to other taxes,
an excise tax will be imposed on every non-electing employer "with
respect to having individuals in his employ, equal to 8 percent
of the wages
paid by him with respect to employment."
The section also states for small employers taxes will be based
on the company's annual payroll according to the following breakdown:
- Does not exceed $250,000: 0 percent
- Exceeds $250,000, but does not exceed $300,000: 2 percent
- Exceeds $300,000, but does not exceed $350,000: 4 percent
- Exceeds $350,000, but does not exceed $400,000: 6 percent
Andy Gum, president of Thomas Glass Co. in Columbus, Ohio, points
out that there are more small companies than large companies in
the glass industry, so the healthcare reform plans could have a
major impact on many companies in the industry.
"If small businesses are put in a position where a legislative
mandate forces them to [provide healthcare] then they're at a serious
disadvantage," says Gum.
Danya L. Rosales, chief financial officer, director for A Better
View Glass & Mirror in Yorktown, Va., agrees.
"I believe that if a mandate is put into place, without a well
designed plan, that would require small glass companies like my
own to provide health insurance or pay costly fines and/or penalties
we would be bankrupt. Yes, I said bankrupt," said Rosales.
"I know if Washington keeps its collective noses to the grindstone
we can create care for all at reasonable rates. However, if the
small glass shops with fewer than 50 employees have to pay the same
rates as our larger 'brothers and sisters' none of us will survive
a mandate. We need reform now and providing my employees with health
insurance is essential as well as a critical part of finding a top
glazier and we all know how hard that is."
Some small business owners are concerned about what they know about
the plan at this point.
"What is most disturbing is the lack of real facts about 'the
plan,'" says Neil Duffy, owner of Auto Glass Menders in San
Jose, Calif. "The insurance industry and others are spending
millions to insure that their interests are not affected and in
some cases they are spreading misinformation to defeat any public
Duffy does support a national plan, though.
"In my humble opinion there should be a national plan funded
by sales or some other broad form of tax," he says. "Make
it like Medicare that covers all but has certain limits. Private
insurers can sell add-ons and upgrades. It would not be hard for
any insurer to price an existing group plan accordingly minus the
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