August 2011

IN THIS ISSUE

Listening Tours
Health Insurance Exchange Regulations
Senate Health Committee Approves AB52
Testimony on Jobs and the Affordable Care Act
Fuel Efficiency Research
 Clean Air Act Advocacy Days
 Debt Ceiling

SHARE YOUR STORY

 
Story Bank
Are you facing soaring healthcare costs? Are energy bills draining your financial resources, preventing the expansion of your business and the hiring of new employees? Have you found it difficult to get an affordable loan or access to credit? If so, we want to hear from you. Or if you haven’t experienced these issues and your business is more successful than ever, we want to know how you did it!
Tell us your story and we’ll be in touch. We feature the stories of small business owners from all around the country, found at the Owner Profiles section of our website. Your story could be next. Among the profiles, you’ll find seasoned small business owners like Fayetteville, Arkansas’s Lisa Sharp, who can’t wait to finally provide quality coverage for employees through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges, along with fresh young entrepreneurs like D.C.’s Laura Smith, who finally won the battle to obtain a loan and open her first business at age 25.
By contributing to our story bank, you’ll be a valued resource who can assist us in highlighting the concerns and needs of employers to help mold state and federal policies that positively impact the small business community.

PEOPLE, PLACES & EVENTS

6/29: California Outreach Director David Chase testified before the California Senate Health Committee in support of AB 1083, legislation they later voted on after the hearing. David also testified before the California Senate Health Committee’s informational hearing in support of AB 52.We held a California webinar examining recent changes in healthcare law that can boost small business owners’ bottom lines. Many of the state and federal reforms create new opportunities for small businesses to cut costs and administrative waste while helping them recruit and retain a talented workforce. 
6/30: Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Small Business Majority’s David Chase met with Los Angeles-area small business owners for a discussion on how employers can take advantage of the new federal healthcare reform law.
7/1: A representative from Health and Human Services, Richard Popper, joined Small Business Majority for a conference call on HHS’ new rules for the Preexisting Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) and how it affects small business owners and the self-employed.
Listen to the recording.
7/13: Small Business Majority co-sponsored an event with WIPP on the ACA, and David Chase spoke on the panel about the California exchange.
7/14: We cohosted a webinar with the Campaign for Better Health Care and the Center for Rural Affairs focusing on what the Affordable Care Act means for small business in Illinois. The same day, we hosted a second webinar surrounding the same issues, this time for Georgia business owners.
7/19: In partnership with the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Majority held a webinar on what the new healthcare law means for small business.
7/20: We held a webinar discussing reforms to our healthcare system in California and on the national level over the past year. The webinar examined recent changes in the law that can boost small business owners’ bottom lines.
7/21: David Chase gave a presentation before the Valley Industry and Commerce Association in Sherman Oaks, CA, discussing AB 1083 and the state’s implementation of the exchange.
7/22: Small Business Majority hosted a webinar educating Nebraska small business owners on how recent healthcare reform can beneficially impact their businesses.
7/22: David Chase testified before the California Exchange Board urging them to support AB 52 and AB 1083.
7/28: Outreach Manager Jessica Stone and Network Coordinator Erica Dowell spoke to Maryland small business owners at an event sponsored by M&T Bank.
8/2: Outreach Manager Jessica Stone and National Outreach and Government Affairs Director Rhett Buttle gave a presentation on the ACA to the National Physicians Alliance.
8/2: We held a national webinar with the US Hispanic Chamber and Center for American Progress. It focused on both federal and state provisions of the Affordable Care Act in order to help local small business owners understand how the law will affect them.
8/15: David Chase testified at the Senate Appropriations Committee in support of AB 1083 and AB 52. The Committee voted to approve AB 1083 and send it to the Senate floor. The Committee will vote on AB 52 later this month.

Read More

FEATURED NEWS

Need a job? Forget benefits
CNN Money
8/12/2011
Can the Federal Reserve control US fortunes?
BBC
8/10/2011
The economic benefits of reducing air pollution
Denver Post
7/31/2011
Debt Ceiling Debate Sows Fear Among Small Business Owners
Huffington Post
7/30/2011
Health-care law could give rise to entrepreneurs
The Washington Post
7/29/2011
The Economics of Clean Air
The Huffington Post
7/19/2011
States given flexibility on insurance exchanges
Los Angeles Times
7/11/2011

Read More


Letter from John Arensmeyer

The dog days of summer are here, and with them ever-rising temperatures, long days and a host of hot issues on the small business front we’ve been working on—from recently released regulations regarding healthcare reform to new fuel standards and Congress’s last-minute vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services took the next step in establishing health insurance marketplaces, called exchanges, where small businesses will be able to pool their buying power and purchase insurance at a lower cost. HHS awarded money to states to help them set up the exchanges and issued proposed rules outlining eligibility and tax credits for the exchanges. The exchanges are the most important component of healthcare reform for small businesses, and are covered extensively in the webinars and listening tours we’ve been holding across the country. As we get closer to the 2014 deadline, when exchanges need to be up and running, it’s important small business owners understand how they’ll work so they can take advantage of them. Go to the Small Business Majority website to find out if there’s an upcoming webinar or listening tour in your area.

We also recently released the results of a national opinion poll on fuel efficiency standards, which found 87% of small business owners support adopting strong fuel efficiency standards now, and 80% support requiring the auto industry to increase mileage to 60 mpg by 2025. The poll was released the same day President Obama announced the details of a highly anticipated deal with automakers to increase fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Small business owners know one of the ways to rebuild our economy is by harnessing clean energy innovation and using it to create jobs. Stay tuned for more information on this topic over the next couple months, as it’s sure to be a hot one.

Speaking of hot topics, unless you were living under a rock you know Congress barely avoided defaulting on our national debt by taking last minute votes to raise the debt ceiling on August 2. While raising the ceiling was important—a default would have been catastrophic for businesses of all sizes—Congress missed an opportunity to make some important reforms that could have benefitted small businesses. Read an article in Inc. magazine about the final deal here, and a joint commentary in the Huffington Post about the debate written by Charles Kolb, the president of the Committee for Economic Development (CED) and myself.

Get updates on our work on our website and stay tuned for more big things in the world of small business.

 

 

HEALTHCARE REFORM

Listening Tours and Webinars

The new healthcare law helps small businesses in a multitude of ways from state to state. Small Business Majority continues to organize free listening tours and webinars across the country to educate small business owners on how healthcare reform affects small businesses everywhere, including minority- and women-owned businesses. Find out when we’ll be in your state.

Health Insurance Exchange Regulations

Terry Gardiner, Vice President of Policy & Strategy, attended a press conference on July 11 with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to announce new regulations for 2014’s federal exchanges. Terry was featured in an LA Times article covering the event. A week before the announcement, Small Business Majority, with the Center for American Progress, released a roadmap outlining for lawmakers and advocates how to set up an effective exchange.

On July 22, the California Health Benefit Exchange Board chose California Outreach Director David Chase to serve on the state’s SHOP stakeholder advisory panel.

On Friday, Aug. 12, HHS and the Department of the Treasury issued proposed rules outlining eligibility for tax credits and health insurance exchanges. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia were awarded $185 million in funding to help set up the state-based exchanges, which will help small business owners access more affordable group plans and further offset costs through tax credits. Proposed rules also call for sound cohesion of exchange enrollment and Medicaid eligibility.

Senate Health Committee Approves AB52

On July 6, AB52 passed the California State Committee on Health. We support AB52, which would give California regulators authority to reject what they consider excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory health insurance rate hikes. While the bill is a step in the right direction, it’s not the be-all end-all for stemming healthcare costs and California’ policymakers should continue exploring other ways to lower healthcare costs. The bill must now pass through the rest of the Senate before it is sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Testimony on Jobs and the Affordable Care Act

On July 28, Vice President of Policy & Strategy, Terry Gardiner, testified before the House Subcommittee on Healthcare on the impact the Affordable Care Act has on jobs. His testimony emphasizes how a pragmatic implementation of the ACA will stimulate small business innovation and economic growth.

 

CLEAN ENERGY

Fuel Efficiency Research

Strong clean energy policies can impact small business owners’ bottom lines for the better. We released poll findings on July 29 highlighting the small business community’s overwhelming support for high fuel efficiency standards. Our research revealed 87% of small business owners surveyed believe it’s important to increase fuel efficiency in cars and trucks, with more than two thirds of this percentage citing the issue as very important. Four in 5 entrepreneurs support raising standards to 60 mpg for cars and trucks, a figure even higher than the 54.5 mpg requirement announced in July by the Obama Administration, which further emphasizes the value today’s entrepreneurs place on clean energy policies that will help business grow. In the Huffington Post, we discuss how Obama’s deal with automakers meets small business owners’ needs.

Clean Air Act Advocacy Days

In cooperation with 9 other groups, we organized a diverse group of advocates from around the country who traveled to Washington to demonstrate to Congress their support for the Clean Air Act. Small business owners who attended the Capitol Hill event sought to ensure protection of the EPA’s authority, which enforces the act. Event coverage can be found in the Huffington Post and in this Cleveland Plain Dealer piece by Stefanie Spear, one of the small business owners who attended.

DEBT CEILING

After much debate and in the eleventh hour, Congress passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling just before the August 2 deadline. Small Business Majority and the Center for Economic Development merged small and big business perspectives to coauthor an op-ed urging Congress to raise the ceiling, which it did. However, an opportunity was missed to make needed reforms that could have produced long term effects benefitting small business and the economy.


Published by SmallBusinessMajority.org
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