As Congress moves closer towards solidifying a health care reform package, one thing is clear: the Democrats’ takeover of health care is bad for small businesses. H.R. 3200, the health care bill currently in the House, has a price tag of almost one trillion dollars. As our national debt climbs to over $9 trillion, the only way to pay for this legislation is by raising taxes. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Henry Waxman plan to enact a $544 billion tax on the so-called “rich” to offset the massive cost of their new program. However, according to the IRS, more than half of those targeted under this new tax are small business owners. They also want to impose a $208 billion tax on businesses that cannot afford to pay for their employees’ health care. Instead of calling this health care reform, perhaps Pelosi and Waxman should call this legislation what it really is: a massive tax on small businesses during one of the worst economic recessions of our time.
In addition to this being a dramatic hardship on our American small businesses, this tax would be devastating to the American worker. Small businesses represent more than 99 percent of all businesses in this country and have historically employed half of the American workforce. In the past, they have created more than 72 percent of new jobs across the country. So a hardship for them quickly translates into jobs lost and no new jobs created. In fact, it’s estimated these new taxes will result in an estimated 5.5 million jobs lost. As the national unemployment rate continues to sit just below 10 percent, is this really a time to enact a massive, job-killing tax?
The American health care system is the best in the world, but there is always room for improvement. We need a solution for those who cannot afford health insurance. We need a solution for those who do not have access to health care. But that does not mean we need to completely alter our health care system and put it under the control of the federal government.
Lucas represents Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House.