Local businesses worry about the rising cost of healthcare benefits

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by Stephanie Collins

WHAS11.com

Posted on March 16, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 16 at 5:53 PM

The battle over healthcare reform and the rising cost of healthcare insurance continues. 

As democrats in Washington add up their votes, many small businesses are adding up the costs.

WHAS11’s Stephanie Collins spoke with small business owners about the rising cost of healthcare benefits.

Many small business owners say the skyrocketing costs of health insurance are putting them out of business and that the current legislation in Washington does nothing to curb costs.

And they don’t want to lay off employees just to pay for health insurance.

Vicky and John Denney become small business owners 18 years ago when they opened Bethlehem Packaging and Dye Cutting and then six years ago bought Pip Printing Company.

“We have an absolutely wonderful staff that works for us and we go out of our way to make sure we can keep them even in bad times," said the Denneys. “When we hire someone they become part of our family.”

And as a family they are all pulling together during this economic downturn, shaving hours here and there to keep everyone employed.

But one area where they can’t make cuts is health insurance.

“It's that $400 per month for individual and then you put the family in there it can go as high as $1200  to $1300 a month and because we are small business we can’t put as much in and it makes it tough on my people,” said Denney.

But small business owners are feeling shut out by the current healthcare reform package that could be voted on later this week in Washington.

They say it won’t cut their costs or create competition.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce that represents businesses has said no to healthcare reform even though the cost of healthcare has gone up 85% over the last five years for small businesses, according to their representative organizations.

According to the Denney’s their costs went up 20%two years ago and 34% last year.

“Every time we have to take more contribution from them that's less money for them to take home and it’s just a lose-lose situation we feel like.”

Vicky and John Denney tell us if they raised their prices 30% each year they'd be out of business and while there is all this talk in Washington, what they want is more competition among the insurance companies.

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