Steve Rucinski was hosting Small Business Trends Radio today with Dawn Rivers Baker. She was concerned that Congress was not addressing affordable healthcare for small businesses. And that our elected officials had legislation bottled up.
She was making sense. So Your Business Blogger decided to get some answers. And I always go to the top. Anita Campbell was out of town, so I had to settle for Bill Frist, MD, Senate Majority Leader.
The appointment was for 4pm. I arrive a bit early, punctuality is the courtesy of kings and all. And I was prepared to be kept waiting. I made a friendly wager with the staff that the Senator would surely be running late. This is DC, you see. I was guessing that he’d arrive at 4:17. I am ready to be miffed — I am a busy man, very busy. The committee Senate staffer looks at me funny, and says, “Senator Frist late? I don’t think so.” She’s from Long Island; she should know late.
At 4:06 Senator Frist, a very busy man, walks in. On time. This is no ordinary event.
Your Business Blogger is joined in the Senator’s conference room with Dave Huether from the National Association of Manufacturers, Steve O’Connor from Human Events, Larry Scholer from Heritage Foundation, Brendan Steinhauser from FreedomWorks, Mary Katharine Ham from TownHall.com, Ron Bluey from Human Events OnLine and John O’Hara from The Spectator and Ivy Sellers.
We get to ask questions. We ask Dr. Frist about health plans for small business. Dawn Rivers Baker said this afternoon that this should not be partisan politics, but a simple, common sense policy issue.
The Senate Majority leader is an active proponent of Association Health Plans.
From Senator’s Frist’s website (yes, he’s got a blog) we learn,
In the days ahead, we will further promote Health Savings Accounts … a common sense way for Americans to save money tax-free to help with their healthcare expenses.
We will also continue to lead the way on promoting Association Health Plans that sweep away burdensome state regulations and make it possible for small employers to purchase health insurance on the same terms as large ones.
And we will commit to developing a 21st Century system for the delivery of health care information that is ACCURATE, INTEROPERABLE and easily ACCESSIBLE.
By doing each of these things and more, we’re working to build a system that’s consumer-driven, patient-centered, and provider friendly – a system driven by knowledge, choice, and control.
So why do we, small business owners, not have Association Health Plans?
Senator Frist reports that the political party across the aisle is “obstructing events” to gain political points. Frist does not have 60 votes to bring bills to a vote. It is not certain if our deliberative body will deliver Association Health Plans.
Dawn Rivers Baker’s question remains unanswered. The political process, like any bureaucracy, moves at its own pace.