Some small businesses are benefiting from portions of the [health care reform] law, which includes a tax credit beginning this year that covers as much as 35% of a company's insurance premiums.
According to a report by Bernstein Research in New York, the percentage of employers with between three and nine workers and which are offering insurance has increased to 59% this year, up from 46% last year. The report relies on data from a September survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation [Janet Adamy, "Health Benefits Appear on Rise," Wall Street Journal, 2010.11.02].
The tax credit isn't a full fix: health premiums are still going up, and small businesses have to do more paperwork to get Uncle Sam's help. But in a bad economy, shops with fewer than ten employees are exactly the businesses we would expect to have the hardest time offering benefits for their workers. Yet thanks to President Obama and health care reform, more of those smallest businesses are getting a tax credit that allows them offer their workers health insurance.
Go ahead, Kristi. Tell us why you don't like that. Tell us why reducing taxes and expanding small-biz health coverage is a bad idea.
Health care reform hasn't cut into insurer profits yet. A new report from Health Care for America Now finds that the big six insurers are insuring fewer people but allocating more money toward administrative overhead and profit:
On average, each of the six now devotes 20 cents on the dollar to non-medical services, compared to 16.5 cents last year and, according to HCAN, 5 cents in 1993.
March's healthcare overhaul will require insurers to spend at least 85 cents of every premium dollar on patient care. Those changes take effect next year [Elise Viebeck, "Health Insurance Companies Likely to Break Profit Records for 2010," The Hill:Healthwatch, 2010.11.16].
Health care CEOs also have the highest median pay in the country, $10 million.
Health care reform can't come soon enough.