CINCINNATI (FOX19) – With the US Senate now debating health care reform, small businesses here in the tri-state are eager to learn what legislative changes may mean for their bottom line.
"We have been really worried as everyone has with the cost of health care for awhile," says Don Martin of Wright Contracting Services Inc.
The national health care debate is stirring a lot of discussion both in Washington D.C. and right here in the tri-state.
As it stands, legislation passed in the House of Representatives would require most Americans to carry insurance. Federal subsidies would be provided for those who otherwise couldn't afford it.
Small companies worry about the possibility of being slapped with penalties if they defy a proposed government mandate of providing insurance benefits.
"We feel the current health care bill puts a number of taxes on businesses that is going to incent them to lower their workforce and not create jobs so they are worried about that," says Matt Davis of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Locally owned, Wright Contracting Services was established fifteen years ago and vice president Don Martin says the company started out offering full health care coverage to their twenty employees but in recent years those benefits have had to change due to rising health care costs.
"In the last three years we have scaled that back to half and the employee will pay for the family coverage through payroll deductions it's the only way we could make it work because literally it comes off the bottom line," said Martin.
"We had over ninety letters go out to congress on Friday either for or against the legislation and I think what that does is illustrated the fact that small businesses really are invested in what is going to happen in Washington," said Davis.
"I don't think anyone really knows and that is the scary part even the people that vote on it, I don't think they really understand where the money comes from and we have to generate it, I just always respect the guys that are up there who have actually carried a payroll each week and that is what really worries us," said Martin.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has suggested the senators may not be able to pass a health care plan this year.