Senator Tom Harkin plans to visit a Des Moines hardware store today to highlight portions of health care reform which may benefit small businesses. “One element of the emerging legislation…deserves more attention. It’s what I’ve said many times before, that this health reform bill that we have is going to be a huge boost for small businesses and the self-employed across America –including more than 65,000 small businesses in Iowa,” Harkin says.
“In fact, I’d go so far as to say small businesses and the self-employed are the big winners in this health reform bill.” Harkin, a Democrat, recently took over as chairman of the Senate Health Committee and he’s been involved in back-room negotiations as senate leaders merge the bill which cleared his panel with the health care reform plan that passed the Senate Finance Committee this week.
Harkin cites statistics which indicate small business owners wind up paying up to 18 percent more per worker than big companies do for the same insurance coverage. “That’s a big reason why 63 percent of small businesses in Iowa don’t provide insurance for their employees. They simply can’t afford it,” Harkin says. “This dismal situation would be changed dramatically by our emerging health reform legislation.”
Harkin plans to meet with a hardware store owner and members of the “Iowa Main Street Alliance” in Des Moines this afternoon. On Saturday, Harkin will meet with a small business owner in Waterloo, then visit a printing company in Cedar Rapids which has struggled to provide insurance to its employees.