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Small Business Owners' Guide to the Election

By: Kent Hoover, Bizjournals
Posted: October 17, 2008

page 6 of 13

McCain contends his plan would reduce health care costs by making individuals better health care consumers and by increasing competition among health insurers. Employer-provided coverage would still be an option, he said, and individuals would be able to take their insurance plan with them from job to job.

Critics, however, said McCain's plan would gut the employer-based system, which provides most Americans with their health insurance, by removing the incentive to offer health benefits.

"I don't think politically it's going to be possible to throw off the employer-based system," said John Arensmeyer, chief executive officer of Small Business Majority, a national organization that prefers Obama's approach.

Obama's proposal, however, also would face political challenges, despite Democratic control of Congress.

The economy likely will remain weak when the next president takes office. As a result, a "pay or play" insurance requirement for businesses would be "extremely difficult to push through," said Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.