President Barack Obama says passage of his health care proposals would create new jobs by making small business startups more affordable.
In his weekly radio and Internet video address Saturday, the president linked one of his biggest challenges - a worse-than-expected loss of jobs with a top priority: passage of far-reaching changes to the United States’ health care system.
If aspiring entrepreneurs believe they can stay insured while switching jobs, Mr. Obama said, they will start new businesses and hire workers.
He said he has met people “who’ve got a good idea and the expertise and determination to build it into a thriving business. But many can’t take that leap because they can’t afford to lose the health insurance they have at their current job.”
Small businesses create many of the nation’s jobs, the President said, and some have the potential to become big companies.
Mr. Obama praised the Senate Finance Committee for crafting a health care bill that includes many of his priorities. Small businesses could buy health insurance through an exchange, he said, “where they can compare the price, quality and services of a wide variety of plans.”
The government would subsidize health insurance for many businesses and individuals, the President said.
Mr. Obama acknowledged that a health care bill is far from final passage in the Democratic-controlled Congress.
The Senate Finance bill will be merged with another version and sent to the Senate floor, where scores of amendments might be offered and Republicans could mount a filibuster.
The House, meanwhile, is advancing a more liberal bill that includes a public option to compete with private health insurers. The Senate Finance Committee rejected that idea.
Mr. Obama said “reforming our health insurance system will be a critical step in rebuilding our economy so that our entrepreneurs can pursue the American dream again and our small businesses can grow and expand and create new jobs again.”
In the weekly Republican address, Congresswoman Candice Miller of Michigan blamed the continued job losses on Democratic policies and said Obama’s health proposals won’t help.
Ms. Miller said the Obama-backed $789 billion economic stimulus package fell far short of its goals.
And she criticized a House-passed energy bill that would set limits and costs on greenhouse gas emissions. The plan, which the Senate has not taken up, “would increase electricity bills, raise gasoline prices and ship more American jobs overseas,” Miller said.
She called for deeper tax cuts for small businesses “to put our economy back on track.”
As for health care, Ms. Miller said, “Washington Democrats intend to fund their government-run health care plan with cuts to Medicare benefits” and with new taxes on businesses.