Small Biz Pushes For Health Reform

WHYY News and Information — Wednesday, April 29, 2009

By: Taunya English

Small business owners from Pennsylvania and New Jersey will be part of a group in Washington today asking lawmakers for affordable health insurance options. Among those testifying at a health reform hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee is a representative from New Jersey's Mainstreet Alliance.


Kelly Conklin operates an architectural woodworking shop in Bloomfield, New Jersey. He spends $72,000 a year on health insurance premiums to cover 10 workers. He wants the government to create a new public health insurance plan, as an alternative to buying coverage from private companies.

Conklin: I could say to my employees: You know what guys I can't swing this anymore, but here's what I will do. I'm going to put in 75 percent of what I was going to pay for private health insurance. You will have to put in a similar amount to the contribution you would have made to our private sector insurer, but you are going to buy your insurance here.

Conklin thinks competition from a public plan would force private companies to lower their prices.

A member of Pennsylvania's National Federation of Independent Business will also testify at the hearing.

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