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Volunteers Organized to Influence Congress and Elections
July 2, 2002

In response to reader requests, the PDF version of VOICE is now available as a link instead of an attachment. Click on ths link to read the PDF version of VOICE:


This Summer, Health-Care Rhetoric is as Hot as the Weather

This summer the issue of health insurance has moved up on the Washington policy agenda. Unfortunately, the people making the most noise are calling for the ?solutions? most harmful to small business. It appears that Washington's most prominent liberals are returning to their usual health-care rhetoric in an attempt to create a campaign issue for this fall's elections.

If this is the case, we can only expect repeated calls for legislation that would devastate small business. Since 1986, the cost of providing health insurance for employees has been the No. 1 problem faced by small businesses. Unlike large corporations, small firms are unable to buy low-cost, quality health insurance in bulk.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.), one of small business's most ardent foes, has proposed to solve the problem by mandating that America's businesses provide health insurance by any means necessary. And not just any health insurance, but health insurance as costly as that provided to government officials and bureaucrats.

In a speech before the National Press Club last month, Kennedy announced that he will introduce legislation mandating that all businesses with 100 or more employees provide this insurance, whether they can afford it or not. But businesses with fewer than 100 employees can breathe no easier. Kennedy vows to propose legislation later this year mandating that all businesses, regardless of size or ability to pay, provide this insurance for their employees.

Every small-business owner who must pay the bills knows what the results of this policy would be. The cost of each employee to the employer would increase dramatically. Employers would be forced to reduce the number of employees on the payroll just to keep the total payroll costs from spiraling out of control.

Association Health Plans (AHPs) are the No. 1 health-care priority for NFIB.

AHPs would allow small businesses the opportunity to band together across state lines to purchase health care through a trade or professional association. This would give small businesses and their employees the same economies of scale, purchasing clout and administrative cost savings that their big business counterparts currently enjoy. In addition, AHPs would have the freedom to design more affordable benefit packages and offer workers access to greater health-care coverage options.

As each political party in Washington spends the summer bashing the other's dueling health-care plans, NFIB will work to add AHPs and other entrepreneurial health-insurance solutions to any legislation that might reach President Bush's desk.


Is the rising cost of health insurance for your employees causing you to reconsider whether you can afford to provide these benefits? Tell us your story. The real experiences of small-business owners are NFIB's most potent weapon in the halls of Congress. E-mail us at


NFIB Study Shows Costs of Postage Hike

The cost of a stamp went up this week, and that rate hike will take a billion-dollar bite out of the bottom line for small business. The rate increase is also projected to cost jobs, especially in the retail sector. At a Washington, D.C. news conference this week, NFIB released its Regulatory Impact Model (RIM) study on postal rate increases, which puts a price tag on the billions of dollars that the postal rate increase will cost small business.

The RIM projection is based on the results of the most recent NFIB National Small Business Poll, which gauged small-business owners' reactions to proposed rate hikes. The RIM study extrapolated the cost to small business of a 40-cent first-class stamp. The current rate increase is for 37 cents, but another 3-cent increase is likely in 18 months.

For the full 40-cent stamp, plus announced increases in other postal classes and services, the cost to small business would be $2.3 billion. The increase to a 37-cent stamp alone will cost small business $1 billion.

On an individual basis, postal increases will directly cost the typical small-business owner with 1-4 employees about $540 annually while owners with 10-99 employees can expect to pay an additional $2,208 in postal costs. (Based on projections for 40-cent stamps.)

By industry, these costs will fall disproportionately on service firms, including the finance sector. About one-third of the direct costs will fall upon the trade sector, including both wholesale trade and retail firms.

The postal increases will also impose modest job cuts on the economy, as small firms will be squeezed to pay the additional costs. Some owners will likely reduce employee hours or forego raises. The RIM model indicates a projected job loss of about 5,000 jobs, falling heavily on owners with 1-4 employees. (Based on 40-cent stamps.)


Small-Business Owners to Meet Federal Regulators in Northern Illinois

NFIB/Illinois is helping small-business owners make their VOICE heard on the issue of federal regulations. U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo (16th Dist.-Ill.) - chairman of the House Small Business Committee - and Phil Crane (8th Dist.-Ill.) will join officials from key federal regulatory agencies at a hearing on the government's efforts to comply with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.

The hearing is on July 15 in Crystal Lake, Ill. If you are interested in testifying at this hearing in northern Illinois, contact NFIB's Illinois office at (217) 523-5471.


NFIB Grassroots Manual is Here

NFIB's 2002 VOICE Grassroots Manual is ready for delivery. This book tells you everything you need to know about effective grassroots political organization. Assembled by NFIB's political staff, the Grassroots Manual is a valuable tool in learning how to effectively interact with candidates, public officials, and the news media. E-mail us at to reserve your copy today! Please specify whether you would like to receive a hard copy by mail (and include your address) or a PDF document by e-mail.

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