Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hillary Clinton's New Health-Care Strategy Will Benefit Small Businesses

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton says only 37 percent of Iowa's small businesses provide health-care coverage to their workers. The universal-health-care strategy she unveiled Monday -- her $110 billion American Health Choices Plan -- seeks to provide a tax break to small companies, so more small businesses will start offering a health-care benefit to workers.

"They will have new incentives to provide you with coverage that makes it affordable for you and the small business, but they will not be required to do so," Clinton said today during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. If you can't get insurance through your employer, her plan allows you to buy into the government-subsidized health-care system. When all is said and done, the 47 million Americans who currently don't have health insurance -- those who are fully employed or otherwise -- will finally have coverage.

It's important to note that small businesses won't be forced into the system. In fact, Clinton's plan even rewards small businesses that already provide health insurance. How? With a tax credit.

Republican critics say Clinton hopes to get more citizens used to a "government-run system," so she can eventually shift all Americans away from private insurance. Clinton's response: "I anticipate that those who do not want to solve the problems we face, and who do not understand the human and economic costs that our current health-care system is imposing on our people and businesses, will come up with all kinds of criticism."

Some of Clinton's Democratic critics say she's too willing to work with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries on this issue. Clinton says she's not only willing to work with insurance and drug company representatives, she will work with any willing Republicans. "The bottom line is," she noted, "we cannot have health-care reform unless we have a bipartisan majority to do it."

Clinton and four other Democratic presidential candidates will be in Davenport tonight to talk about health-care reform and retirement security issues at a forum sponsored by the Divided We Fail coalition, which includes AARP and other health care-oriented organizations.

Sources: Associated Press [photo], Radio Iowa,

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