Main Street Alliance - Update
Stand Up For Main Street, Not K Street
On Tuesday, as the Senate Finance Committee held final deliberations on its health care reform package, Iowa small business owners described their own health care needs to staff from Rep. Dave Loebsack's office. They sent a clear message about health care reform: "Stand up for Main Street, not K Street."
The "reality tour" began at Rep. Loebsack's Iowa City office where "Health Care Reality Tour" organizer, Sue Dinsdale, talked about what the 500 members of Iowa Main Street Alliance need for health care reform. Topics covered included: a health insurance exchange to promote transparency, new choices and competition; a competitive public health insurance plan to give small businesses new leverage and drive down costs; reforms in the insurance market to prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions and discrimination based on health status and gender; and affordability measures which would include tax credits for small businesses and subsidies for workers to make health coverage affordable.
Dinsdale and Representative Loebsack's staffer, Stephen Polsdorfer, then visited Iowa City businesses including Herteen & Stocker Jewelers, Catherine's, and Dawn's Hide and Bead Away. Small business owners, Terry Dickens, Catherine Champion, and Karen Kubby discussed with the Congressman's representative the mounting challenges they face to offer health insurance to their employees and what that means to them as family businesses and members of the Iowa City community.
"The insurance companies and their lobbyists do not have my interests as a small business owner in mind," said Karen Kubby, owner of Dawn's Hide and Bead Away. "They are making it harder for me and my employees to access health care. Right now we can't afford insurance for our employees. We appreciate the incredibly hard work they put in, and we give as many benefits as we can. But the most valuable benefit, health insurance, we can't afford... and that makes me just feel terrible. We need real reform--which must include a public option if it is to have true affordability and ensure everyone in this country has access to the right of health care."
Iowa business owners joined small businesses coalitions from ten other states in a "National Small Business Day of Action" organized by the Main Street Alliance on the date of the expected vote in the Finance Committee.
All across the country, small business owners urged Senate and House leaders to include a public option and true affordability measures in the bills they bring to the floor for debate, and to replace the flawed "free rider" proposal with a fair employer contribution.
"It's time to move forward to pass reform that finally fixes health care for Main Street," said Sue Dinsdale, organizer for the Iowa Main Street Alliance. "Eastern Iowa small business owners appreciate Rep. Loebsack's leadership in drafting legislation in the Education and Labor Committee this summer, and they know he will continue to fight for them when he votes on health care reform in the full House in coming weeks. Small businesses need reform that levels the playing field with the insurance industry and drives down costs -- to truly do that, it's got to include the choice of a strong public health insurance option."
Recent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office have indicated that inclusion of a strong public option in the reform package would save on the order of $110 billion in federal dollars over 10 years. Small businesses could expect to reap major savings as well.