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RESPONSE TO WHITE HOUSE HEALTH PLAN BY JACK FARIS, PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The American small-business community is appreciative of President Clinton's efforts to find a solution to the most costly and devastating problem it has ever faced. For nearly a decade, small businesses have been crying out for solutions to outrageous costs and unfair tax treatment in health care. The President is to be commended for bringing this issue to the forefront of national debate.
 The National Federation of Independent Business-small business's largest and longest-serving organization -- agrees with the President that the principles of security, savings, simplicity, quality, responsibility and choice are crucial to the foundation of a health care system which protects and serves the citizens of this nation.
 But it is with deep concern that small-business owners all over America learned tonight that President Clinton has ignored their pleas for a health care reform plan which will allow them to create jobs and provide coverage for their employees without inflicting economic damage.
 The President has often stated that the key to the nation's economic health is the financial stability and the continued growth of the small- business sector. However, this proposal, coming on the heels of a recession and recently-passed tax increases, will make it more and more difficult for these small firms to grow and even survive.
 If forced to carry the load of paying 80 percent of the health care costs for all present and future employees and their families in an untried and unproven government-run system, small-business owners will have few options to contain costs if the system fails or is slow in getting started.
 To survive, they will be hard-pressed to reduce their costs of operation. Instead of creating jobs and providing health coverage, they will be compelled to eliminate positions and trim overhead costs by reducing hours and other benefits.
 Forcing employers to pay for health insurance is nothing more than a hidden, regressive tax on jobs. It fall most heavily on those who can least afford it -- smaller, marginal businesses and their lower wage employees: the working poor. Affordable, comprehensive and universal health care should not be purchased at the cost of jobs on Main Street America.
 The President offers subsidies as a solution. Small-business owners do not want subsidies, they want affordable health insurance. Reducing the cost of health insurance is the first problem which should be addressed. And as history has proven, government subsidies are temporary, but government mandates are forever.
 The President's plan is not the only reform proposal before Congress. There are other responsible plans. Both Democrats and Republicans have or soon will introduce legislation that will provide security, savings, simplicity, quality, choice and responsibility -- just like the President's -- and they won't destroy jobs. They deserve and will receive serious consideration too.
 -0- 9/22/93
 /CONTACT: Terry Hill or Angela Jones of NFIB, 202-554-9000/ CO: National Federation of Independent Business ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:


LD -- NY111 -- 4986 09/22/93 23:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 22, 1993
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