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The National Federation of Independent Business Introduces Health Care Principles

December 12, 2007 -- The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) introduced ten principles to overhaul the heath care system on Wednesday and announced a major research initiative with the Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm.

"For 25 years, our members have been telling us their top issue is health care costs," NFIB Spokeswoman Stephanie Cathcart said. In the coming years, she said she expects that both the president and Congress will play an important role in addressing health care concerns. "We're asking [presidential] candidates and members of Congress to use these principles as a starting point," Cathcart said.

NFIB developed these ten principles in the fall with health care experts from across the political spectrum. That group included representatives from the Heritage Foundation, the Urban Institute and the Cato Institute. NFIB said in a press release that it specifically sought out perspectives from broad philosophical camps, and that the representatives and their organizations did not necessarily endorse the health care principles.

NFIB President Todd Stottlemyer highlighted the need for universal and affordable health insurance — two major elements of the 10 principles, he said — on a press conference call. Small businesses make up the largest segment of the uninsured population, and those that do provide insurance for their employees share risk among a smaller pool, making coverage more expensive. Either the business or the employees must absorb the added cost, he said.

Portability is another major aspect of overhauling health insurance that the NFIB supports. Potential entrepreneurs may not be able to start their own businesses if they cannot afford to leave their old jobs and lose their health insurance, Cathcart explained.
The NFIB also believes a health care system should be: competitive, transparent, efficient, unbiased and evidence-based. In addition, the NFIB supports private insurance over government coverage whenever possible, and notes that any changes to U.S. health care must proceed at pace that allows firms and individuals to adjust.

The research initiative with the Lewin Group will focus on specific policy options and preferences of small businesses with regard to health care, Cathcart said. NFIB has established a health care advisory board of small business owners. In addition, the NFIB recently joined the Divided We Fail Coalition, which includes the AARP, the Service Employees International Union and the Business Roundtable. This group works with citizens, non-profits, businesses and elected officials to address health care issues.

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