NASE on Micro-Business

Posts Tagged ‘Congress

The health care reform debate is constantly evolving.  Here are some of the week’s top health care headlines to help keep you up-to-date on what’s being said:

Healthcare Reform Debate Heats Up In The House (The Small Business Watchdog)
Power player, the House Ways and Means Committee, debates the idea of a public option.

Health reform FAQ: Cutting through the noise (CNN Money)
Confused about what health care reform would look like and how it would change your world? You’re not alone.

Little Known Info About the Self-Employed and Health Reform [Survey] (NASE on Micro-Business)

President Obama Comments on Self-Employed and Health Reform (ABC News)
His comments on the self-employed and health care reform start at the 4:00 mark of this video clip of the interview.

HHS Secretary Presses Congress on Health Care Reform, Rules Out Increased Deficit Spending (Fox News)
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers Wednesday that President Barack Obama is willing to listen to suggestions on how to pay for a health care overhaul, as long as they don’t increase the deficit.

Bipartisan Health Bill Gets Cold Shoulder (Roll Call)
With President Barack Obama and lawmakers in both parties continuing to struggle for a bipartisan health care reform deal, sweeping legislation — pushed by a bipartisan Senate duo — that would fundamentally restructure the way Americans get their health insurance has been gathering dust.


The health care reform debate is constantly evolving. Here are some of the week’s top health care headlines to help keep you up-to-date on what’s being said:

Q+A – Where Does Health Care Reform Stand In US Congress? (Reuters)

Congress Considers Single Payer Health Care System (House Committee on Education and Labor): Lawmakers in the House recently held a hearing to examine the option of a single payer health care system amongst the many proposals for health care reform currently being discussed by legislators. Much of the debate was inspired by a bill that would establish a single payer system proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.). Rep. Conyers’ bill, The United States National Health Care Act (H.R. 676), would establish a publicly financed, privately administered universal health care system with single payer financing, based on improvements and expansion of the existing Medicare program.

Senate Committee Hears Many Opinions On Health Reform (Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions): The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions recently held a hearing on health care reform featuring the testimony of numerous witnesses from across the health care sector. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), sitting in for Committee Chairman Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), stated that health care reform is an urgent issue and “delay is not an option.” On the other hand, Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) cautioned that “if we don’t get [health care reform] right, America will suffer. We shouldn’t be subject just to timetables; we should be subject to getting it right.”

Health debate to intensify (Atlanta Journal-Constitution): After weeks of relatively polite discussion about health care reform – the top item on President Barack Obama’s agenda – Congress and interest groups are beginning to draw battle lines as the first specific proposals emerge from Congress. The rhetoric will sharpen when Obama, who pushed change in a town hall meeting Thursday in Wisconsin, addresses the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest doctors’ group, in Chicago.

Obama Urges Health Care System Overhaul To The American Medical Association (Associated Press on YouTube)

Since health care reform has risen to the top of the priority list for the Obama Administration and Congress, I spend a lot of my time trying to insert the self-employed perspective into this debate.  I will tell you that often this is not an easy task.  As of late I have been asked quite a bit about the National Association for the Self-Employed’s perspective on mandates. Congress has been batting around the idea of including in a health reform bill an employer mandate, requiring employers to provide and share in the cost of health insurance for their employees, and/or an individual mandate, requiring all individuals to purchase health coverage.  This idea received significant traction when major insurers announced they would support some key market reforms in exchange for the inclusion of an individual mandate.  This week, the fervor around mandates was kicked up a notch when President Obama indicated in an open letter to key Senators that he is amenable, with a few exemptions, to proposals for “shared responsibility — making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the cost.”

According to a June 2008 study by the NASE, only 18% of micro-business owners (10 or less employees) in our nation are currently providing health coverage to their employees.   Thus, the majority of the self-employed are purchasing health coverage in the individual market.  The biggest concern amongst the self-employed and micro-business is affordability of health coverage.   In addition, micro-business owners with employees also worry about the administrative burden of managing health care for their workers.  This segment of the business population believe that if reform proposals don’t include adequate cost containment measures or financial assistance such as health tax credits yet include a mandate requiring all to obtain coverage, they will be worse off than they are now.  And with the economy struggling as it is, forcing the self-employed to purchase coverage or provide coverage to their workers could mean the difference between staying in business or closing their doors.  Therefore, NASE members do not support mandating coverage at the present time.

The House passed a bill on Wednesday by a vote of 361-64 that limits the ability of credit card companies to raise fees and interest rates for credit card holders.  The Senate voted in favor of the bill by a vote of 90-5 on Tuesday.  President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation by the end of the week.

While the bill offers protections for consumer credit cards, protections may or may not extend to small business owners depending on how your business is incorporated and the type of card you have.

The legislation doesn’t apply to corporate cards, so under the legislation you should be covered if:

-You use your personal card to make business purchases
-You have a business card based on your personal credit (like many sole proprietors do)

The  regulations for traditional corporate cards remain the same under the bill. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, respectively, proposed an amendment to the legislation that would have extended protections to any businesses with 50 or fewer employees. However, that amendment was not included in the final version of the legislation.

Hat tip: CNNMoney.

Will this legislation apply to your business? Do you think this legislation will help or hurt your business?  Let us know in the comments.

The Obama Administration recently announced its plans to step up the search for noncompliant taxpayers as one method for offsetting a massive budget deficit and to help shore up economic losses for the nation. A newly formed Task Force on Tax Reform will concentrate on the tax gap – a $300 billion difference between what the Internal Revenue Service is owed and what it collects.


In the past, lawmakers have pointed to underreporting by the self-employed as a significant contributor to the tax gap, a claim the NASE has worked hard to refute. The association has countered that an effective strategy to increase tax compliance should include overall simplification of the tax code, the elimination of issues that are inequitable to entrepreneurs, and greater access to reliable taxpayer education and outreach, not just an increase in enforcement activities.


Under the Bush Administration and the previous Congress, tax gap proposals placed an undue burden on micro-businesses. Those included imposing withholding on non-employee payments, specifically payments made to independent contractors; requiring information reporting on all payments of $600 or more to corporations; and demanding businesses that utilize contractors to obtain and verify an accurate Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for those contractors receiving payments of $600 or more.


Kristie Arslan, Executive Director of the NASE’s Legislative Offices, testified before the House Committee on Small Business last year against the annual reporting of electronic payment transactions to the IRS. Although some have supported this measure as a solution to the tax gap, the NASE is opposed to this legislation because of the increased tax regulation it places on small businesses and because it likely would not boost tax compliance.   


While the NASE believes the IRS should be able to collect all the money it is owed, increasing the burden on micro-businesses is not the most effective way to increase compliance. A strategy to increase tax compliance should include overall simplification of tax code, the elimination of issues that are inequitable to entrepreneurs, and greater access to reliable taxpayer education and outreach.

In his recent address before Congress, Obama highlighted health care and the need for health care reform, especially to help small businesses and their insurance needs. The NASE remains very engaged in this debate, working with your legislators to make sure the issue remains a top priority. We continue to advocate that the self-employed must be able to exclude health insurance premiums from self-employment tax regardless of the entity form under which they choose to operate.

The NASE heads up the coalition supporting Equity for Our Nation’s Self-Employed, which brings together over 40 small-business organizations, working to remove this unfair tax burden on the self-employed. For more information, please visit our coalition Web site at

In his address to Congress and the nation last night, President Obama mentioned entrepreneurs and small-business owners numerous times.  Although the speech did not include any specific plans for small-business owners, plans such as health care reform and raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 annually are sure to affect some, if not many small businesses. 

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), ranking member of the House Small Business Committee, expressed concern that raising taxes would hurt entrepreneurs and “take dollars out of the hands of the small-business owners who create jobs for Americans” in a statement responding to the President’s speech. 

Do you think the President’s plans will help or hurt your small business?  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Hat tip: Independent Street

Read President Obama’s speech here.
Watch President Obama’s speech here.

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