National Federation of Independent Business/Wisconsin: New mandates will make healthcare more expensive for small business

Contact: Bill G. Smith (608) 255-6083 or Jason Brewer at (202) 406-4435

MADISON, Oct. 7, 2009—All or part of the following may be attributed to Bill G. Smith, state director of National Federation of Independent Business/Wisconsin, commenting on a news conference this morning announcing a push to expand the federal mental health and substance abuse mandate to small business.

“The cost of healthcare is the No. 1 concern of small business owners in Wisconsin. Many small employers face double-digit annual increases in their premium costs, and the focus of reform efforts in Madison should be on controlling the cost of care. Adding new mandates to the insurance plans of small employers will only drive up the cost of healthcare.

“Although the proponents of this mandate claim it is all about fairness, there is no fairness in targeting small business owners and their employees who are least able to afford the higher health insurance costs associated with this dramatic expansion of mandated benefits.”

“We won’t make healthcare more affordable or accessible for small businesses and their employees if we pile mandates on small employers that drive up the cost of private insurance. Giving small employers and their employees more flexibility in choosing benefits packages that fit their needs and their budget should be the focus of reform efforts.”