Bad prescription for business

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I am a small-business employer. I am very concerned about the pending health-care reform being proposed in Washington, D.C.

We have not seen the actual bill that is being presented, nor will we. Under the current Congress, bills are voted into law without adequate study, without adequate debate and without being published anywhere.

The bill is currently more than 1,000 pages. Who could read and understand this bill in time to judge it? Why should this Congress and this administration be in such a hurry to overhaul one-seventh of our economy when 70 percent of the citizens are happy with the current system?

You only have to read to page 16 to discover that you may not purchase health insurance as an individual following passage of this law. Under this bill, the Health Savings Account disappears as an option.

I have more than 40 associates working with me. Depending on your tenure with the company, I pay from 50 percent to 100 percent of the monthly health insurance premium. Some of my people are covered by their spouses' insurance from their jobs elsewhere, and they choose to have that insurance. Believe it or not, a few of our people don't want to be covered by insurance for their own reasons. I believe that is their right to decide how to spend their money.

I CONTRIBUTE TO, or pay entirely for, everybody to have dental, short-term and long-term disability insurance. I pay for a plan to help them with prescription drugs, co-pays and deductibles so that they don't get caught short on those situations. I pay them for between two and four weeks per year of vacation, pay them on holidays and even pay them to take extra time off if a loved one dies.

These benefits are my choice to do, or not do. The cost of these benefits, payroll taxes and salaries represents the majority of the cost of operating my business.

Everybody needs to know that the present health-care proposal is the biggest tax increase in the history of our country.

Business tax collections already are at record lows because business profit margins are at an all-time low. Most people I know are operating on razor-thin profits and experiencing very tight cash flow. Personal tax collections also are shrinking nationwide because about 10 percent are unemployed and about 20 percent are underemployed.

Here are the unintended consequences of a health-care proposal that requires businesses to pay for the health insurance of all their employees or pay a fine, as currently proposed:

Employers will pay the insurance, but cut salaries to make up the difference. Some will cut other benefits such as paid vacation, paid holidays, 401(k) matches or educational assistance. Some will have to raise prices to the consumers of their services and products. Some will have to cut the number of employees and increase the workloads of those who remain. Some will just shift their employees to the prescribed government coverage option. It will be the same as putting all your employees under Medicare. Some will find a way to survive by doing a little bit of all of the above. Some will be so discouraged that they will close the business, sell the business or just retire.

MY POINT IS that there is nowhere to go to find money within the small-business environment as it currently exists. Congress is full of people who have never made a payroll, created a single job, and never had to answer to an employee, a customer, a banker, or a vendor. They are fully out of touch with the reality of what it takes to succeed in our country. Regulations, taxes and restrictions on business from the federal, state and local governments are strangling our nation's job producers.

I suggest that you advise your friends, children and grandchildren to go to work for the government. Go into education or the military, or work for a government bureaucracy on some level. It is the only place I see growing over the next 50 years.

As for me, I have an irrational belief that small businesses, which employ more than half our nation's workers, are the backbone of our economy. I am addicted to free enterprise, the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution and the concept of a representative republic. I miss them.

(The writer is owner of Advanced Services for Pest Control in the CSRA.)

Comments (91) Add comment
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happythoughts
25
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happythoughts 07/19/09 - 06:20 am
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Great article. So true!

Great article. So true!

concernednative
28
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concernednative 07/19/09 - 06:24 am
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The good news is Jeff you

The good news is Jeff you don't have to change any of that. And unless you make more than 350k you don't have to worry about a tax increase. Also, I would like for people to be more honest about hiring/firing every really know that it is based on supply and demand not taxes. If you look at this nations history we have had lower unemployment and higher taxes than we currently have. As a business owner has more work/customers than current staffing he is going to hire. He isn't going to turn down business because of a 4% tax increase. You know that as well as I do. If you got 5000 new customers you are going to hire for your pest control business and the last thing on your mind is a 4% tax increase. Lets be intellectually honest with each other.

stadry
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stadry 07/19/09 - 07:21 am
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obviously native's never had

obviously native's never had to make a payroll or run a biz,,, well-said, jeff,,, next let's focus on the 32 (special interest) czars not subject to congressional oversight (pun) nor constitutionally legal.

Kramer
22
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Kramer 07/19/09 - 07:21 am
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Sadly, the bill forces all

Sadly, the bill forces all employers to pay for their employees health insurance, it does not say, "only for business owners who make over 350k". Perhaps concerndnative should suggest this to his representative. That provision, which is not there now, would be a help. I am a business person and I don't know an single one who makes more than 350k. Perhaps the newspaper can publish their names so we can thank them personally for their additional contributions to our nations needs. It is funny when people are so eager to spend other people's money.

stadry
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stadry 07/19/09 - 07:24 am
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let's see how many move OUT

let's see how many move OUT of nyc if this addl tax is adopted,,, not only will ny be bankrupt as many seek lower tax districts, the resulting avg burden per taxpayer will only geometrically increase the stampede,,, if native's true to his beliefs, i'm certain he'll gladly pick up the deficit.

Ih8cc
0
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Ih8cc 07/19/09 - 07:26 am
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concered, you really don't

concered, you really don't have a clue...do you?!?!

dashiel
176
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dashiel 07/19/09 - 07:42 am
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If 70 percent of us are happy

If 70 percent of us are happy with our system the way it is now is it because we don't know or care that 30 percent of the cost now wasted is spent on useless red tape that has 0 percent to do with ANY actual care but 100 percent to do with insurance profits? Of COURSE these fat cats (thanks to their lobbyists) don't want to change our current system. That's why they've bought every available politician. If the money now being wasted could be applied to actual healthcare, there would be no need to appropriate it from small business.

Riverman1
84909
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Riverman1 07/19/09 - 07:51 am
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This is a severe recession,

This is a severe recession, reminiscent of the Great Depression, that is being worsened by Obama's policies such as mandatory employer provided health care. During the Great Depression, folks sold apples on the streets. This time it won't be possible because there will be some kind of law saying the apple grower has to give the person who picked the apples and sells them health care insurance. We will all go without apples. During this era of income redistribution, we should take a look at the Rhodesian example of what happens when the masses simply swarm over the apples like locusts and devour them without regards to those who own the apple trees.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 07/19/09 - 07:53 am
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Dang, dashiel, you don't make

Dang, dashiel, you don't make any more sense than concernednative. If all of the government red tape is raising the cost and limiting the availability of health care, how can MORE government make things better? How can more taxes lower the cost? Concernednative's comment about "intellectual honesty" is as flabbergasting as it is comical.

dashiel
176
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dashiel 07/19/09 - 08:16 am
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Patty, you must have no

Patty, you must have no experience at all if you think the government is the only source of red tape. Insurers dicker about coverage, their objective (as ever) being to dodge paying ANYthing. This forces doctors, clinics and hospitals to spend precious funds on business office staff--NOT on medicine or medical personnel. This is the senseless waste I refer to. Government's role has been to perpetuate this practice.

ldsmith1
1
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ldsmith1 07/19/09 - 08:21 am
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Even if the 350K figure was

Even if the 350K figure was accurate, we don't know if that would be net income or gross. I bet many small businesses have an income of 350. Once all the expense are paid, the actual profit is much less.

ldsmith1
1
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ldsmith1 07/19/09 - 08:28 am
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The ignorance of basic

The ignorance of basic economic principles displayed by some of these posts is incredibly discouraging. Obama and his leftist friends are counting on you to keep your heads in the sand. Mr. Annis has written an excellent LTE.

carcraft
26250
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carcraft 07/19/09 - 08:41 am
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concernednative on Sun Jul

concernednative on Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:24 AM Have you ever heard of the law of diminishing retruns? Businesses make money first to maintain the business, then to profit. At some point in some businesses the cost of increasing profit is greater than the worth of the return. Government red tape increases the ceiling and depth of effort to over come diminishing returns retarding or halting expansion. Tort Reform would reduce medical costs by 10 to 15%. Provide or pass a law that would allow America to bill foreign nations for health care provided to their citizens. Stablize illegals and then send them home for definitave care. The anchor baby law needs to go also. These two actions would help stablize costs. America is broke and we need to unhamper small businesses instead of ham stringing the growth of small business with needless regulations and tax burdens.

masscraft
0
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masscraft 07/19/09 - 08:45 am
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I applaud the fact that you

I applaud the fact that you offer disability coverage along with other coverages. A friend of mine got sick with pancreatitis and missed work for almost 6 months. His disability coverage from work paid 60% of regular salary but, as he found out, was taxable as regular income. His net take home was less than 50% of his regular salary. I found a site at http://www.disability-insurance-update.com/ where I was able to shop for a supplemental disability policy that literally extended my coverage to 100% of my salary and the benefits from my policy aren't taxable as income.

justthefacts
22196
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justthefacts 07/19/09 - 08:49 am
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masscraft, can't the gov't

masscraft, can't the gov't just pay it for us??

eric stoner
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eric stoner 07/19/09 - 08:54 am
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I'm confused. Mr. Annis first

I'm confused. Mr. Annis first says we don't have an opportunity to read the 1000 page bill, then he quotes from page 16. How did he do that?

TechLover
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TechLover 07/19/09 - 08:56 am
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Mr. Annis, (Boy that's funny

Mr. Annis, (Boy that's funny when you say it out loud) Try http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.3200: It looks like you've been reading the BS on the right wingnut web sites or listening to right wingnut radio. The "offending" paragraph the right wingnuts use is not outlawing coverage, it's giving a definition of a grandfathered policy.

justthefacts
22196
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justthefacts 07/19/09 - 09:07 am
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This plan is sooo good that

This plan is sooo good that members of Congress, their staff, families, and unions can't wait to be included!

justthefacts
22196
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justthefacts 07/19/09 - 09:18 am
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TL, are saying that section

TL, are saying that section 102 ONLY discusses the grandfather definition?? Wow.

Niko Mahs
83
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Niko Mahs 07/19/09 - 09:27 am
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Well there must be a lot of

Well there must be a lot of pests in the CSRA for a business like this to be so very important.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 07/19/09 - 09:39 am
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justignorethefacts: That's

justignorethefacts: That's the section the right wingnuts are using to say you won't be able to buy insurance.

deekster
24
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deekster 07/19/09 - 10:10 am
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It used to cost $100 for the

It used to cost $100 for the government to collect and spend $1 of tax revenue. Now that figure is more likely $1000 for $1. Ain't govenment efficiency grand. Why budget when you can steal from everyone with a gun and no recourse.

1941
4
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1941 07/19/09 - 10:14 am
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The real problem is ''small

The real problem is ''small buisness'' wont people to work for peanuts, no benifits, so they make nothing but ''profit''. It is about time they are made to treat thier workers, like they would like to be treated.

slippery 25
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slippery 25 07/19/09 - 10:18 am
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Well written Jeff. I can tell

Well written Jeff. I can tell some of the people who have posted today are in the same boat as our congress.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 07/19/09 - 10:29 am
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The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights constitutes the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. And, by the way, for what percentage of its forty employees does JA's business pay 100% of health insurance premiums?

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 07/19/09 - 10:57 am
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Craig Spinks, what's your

Craig Spinks, what's your point? Mr Annis stated in his column that he pays insurance to each employee depending on time employed and the manner which the employee decides.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 07/19/09 - 10:58 am
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dashiel, government

dashiel, government bureaucracy isn't the only source of red tape, but it is the primary product of government bureaucracy.

justthefacts
22196
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justthefacts 07/19/09 - 11:18 am
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TL, the "wingnuts" are

TL, the "wingnuts" are correct.

carcraft
26250
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carcraft 07/19/09 - 11:21 am
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Niko Mahs on Sun Jul 19, 2009

Niko Mahs on Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:27 AM 53% of US jobs come from small business, his isn't important but, Mr. Annis,s insites are important. Job expansion will come with the expansion of small businesses. 15 states have over 10 % unemployment now and the government wants to burden small businesses with increased health care costs to employees and increased taxes with cap and trade and make exporting goods more expensive with increased energy costs. The Democrates are simply going to ruin America wth all this BS!

KSL
131274
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KSL 07/19/09 - 11:22 am
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We have never had to argue

We have never had to argue with our health insurance company over any claim.

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