In the ongoing debate about health care, don’t forget about small business owners

In the national debate about health care, the voices of small business owners are often eclipsed by partisan rhetoric. As a small business owner, I’m writing to flag to our politicians that quality, affordable health care is essential for both entrepreneurship and the communities that support small businesses. The repeal plans moving through Congress, most recently in the Senate, threatens Main Street from all sides.

My husband and I own a small business, a green design and build company for average-income clients like the people who live and work around us here in Maine. We were both born and raised in state, and we moved back when it was time to take on two major life challenges – starting a family and starting a business.

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), private insurance was unaffordable, and I was unable to leave my job in order to keep our young family covered. With the ACA, I could focus fulltime on our business. Since then, our business has quintupled, which is good for us and also for many others in the area. We’re able to employ more local plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, and purchase more local materials like Maine’s great lumber.

The Republican health care plans badly hurts business by introducing a lot of uncertainty into our local economy. It throws 23 million people off insurance and slashes Medicaid by $834 billion. What happens to our community when people get sick without insurance? What happens to the local economy when Maine’s Medicaid dollars disappear and the bottom falls out? With premiums expected to jump 20% next year under the Senate repeal bill, how many of our clients, average-income Mainers, will feel confident enough in their own financial future to hire us for a job?

Both the Senate and the House have put forward legislation that is fundamentally broken, offering only huge tax breaks to the very wealthy instead of solutions that provide people of all incomes affordable, quality health care. As a Maine small business owner who cares about my state and our communities, I thank Senator Collins for recently taking a strong stance against the Senate’s health care bill, and I urge her to continue to oppose any legislation that hurts tens of millions of people and a huge portion of the economy.

About author

Emily Ingwersen
Emily Ingwersen 1 posts

Emily Ingwersen is owner of Ginger Hill Design + Build in Arundel, Maine and a member of Main Street Alliance.

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