WASHINGTON -- The leading small-business organization, a lobbying juggernaut that helped kill President Clinton's health plan in the 1990s, plans to announce today that it is signing up with a diverse political coalition promoting access to affordable healthcare for all.
The National Federation of Independent Business will join AARP, the Service Employees International Union and the Business Roundtable -- which represents chief executives of major companies -- in an umbrella group called Divided We Fail. The effort is aimed at ensuring that healthcare and retirement security are at the top of the presidential candidates' domestic agendas next year.
"Access to affordable health insurance is the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 issue for small business across the United States," said Todd Stottlemyer, president of the National Federation of Independent Business. "For us not to be at the table in any serious conversations makes no sense. There really can't be a national debate about healthcare unless small business has a seat at the table."
An estimated 60% of the 47 million uninsured people in the United States are small-business employees, owners and their family members.
The NFIB still opposes efforts to compel employers to pay for coverage, but Stottlemyer said the group's members are alarmed that healthcare costs have only become more onerous and unpredictable since the collapse of the 1990s effort.
AARP,SEIU and NFIB all agreeing to work together.....