Small business supports Obama 2009 drive for healthcare reform

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Statement by Terry Gardiner, National Legislative Director, Small Business Majority:

We applaud President Obama for upholding his leadership on comprehensive national healthcare reform in the face of the economic crisis, as demonstrated in his budget speech to Congress today. He clearly understands that fixing the system is not just an important step toward getting the nation back on its feet it's an imperative one.

America's 27 million small businesses frequently pointed to as the backbone of the country's economy are hurting. And our research shows that healthcare costs are the No. 1 burden facing small business today. Escalating costs are forcing small business owners to make the choice between laying off employees and cutting benefits. Potential entrepreneurs are delaying starting their own businesses because they can't afford to leave their employee-sponsored healthcare plans behind. Family farmers and ranchers who can't buy insurance on the group market face severe financial hardship if they have any health issues at all.

In the last recession, from 2001 to 2003, larger employers lost 3.5 million jobs. In those same three years, small business owners particularly those with fewer than 20 employees created 850,000 new jobs. Over the past decade, according to the Small Business Administration, small businesses have created 75 percent of all net new jobs. To recover from this recession, small businesses have to be able not just to survive, but to thrive and that can't happen without national healthcare reform. We urge Congress, in concert with President Obama, to continue the work they've already begun and enact comprehensive healthcare reform in 2009.

Small Business Majority is a national, nonpartisan small business advocacy organization focused on healthcare reform.