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Christina Romer, presidenta del Consejo de Asesores Económicos, desacredita el mito de que la reforma del seguro de salud perjudicará a las pequeñas empresas. Al contrario, la reforma aliviará la carga de las pequeñas empresas y ayudará a darles igualdad de condiciones con relación a las grandes empresas que, en promedio, pagan mucho menos por otorgarles cobertura a sus empleados.
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Hello, I'm Christina Romer. I'm Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers here at the White House. And I wanted to talk about one of the myths that's been swirling around the health care debate, and that has to do with what health care reform will mean for small businesses. And I'll give you an example. We get lots of comments on the website and one said, "I own a small business, and the proposed health care reform would make it impossible for me to hire new employees and might force me out of business." The current health care system does not work well for small businesses. Just to give you a fact -- a small business typically pays about 18% more for comparable coverage for its workers than a big firm. And that puts them at a competitive disadvantage -- either it means they have to have lower profits and less ability to grow and expand their businesses, or it means their workers get lower take home wages. And that isn't good, obviously, for their workers or for the small business wanting to hire the very best people. One of the ways that we see this playing out is that small businesses provide health insurance much less often than big businesses. Probably about -- only about half of the businesses with fewer than nine employees actually provide health insurance, whereas you get to a firm, 200, 300 employees, it's almost 100% of them -- provide coverage. The important thing is that health care reform is absolutely aimed at easing those burdens for small firms. So for example, all of the proposals talk about a health insurance exchange, where either small businesses or individuals can go and buy health insurance on much better terms, right? The plans have a tax credit for small businesses to help them provide health insurance for their workers, to reward them for doing the right thing by their employees. You know, some of the proposals have what we call an Employer Responsibility Requirement. That's aimed at medium and big firms and saying if you -- you know, we call it "pay or play." If you don't provide health insurance, there's a penalty. Well, the rule -- the bills, as they're working their way through Congress all have an exemption for small firms. For example, one version exempts any firm with fewer than 25 employees. They wouldn't face any of those requirements and that's about 91% of firms. And of course, the other 9%, the vast majority of them are already providing health insurance. The facts are very clear: the system doesn't work for small businesses now and reform is very much aimed at easing the burdens, making it easier for this crucial sector of our economy. Small businesses account for a big part of job creation, a big part of innovation. We want to help them and that's why the reform proposals are aimed at lessening their burdens. We hope you'll help us to get the word out so that we get the right information to people. I'd also encourage you to come to whitehouse.gov, the website. You'll be able to see our report, read about small businesses and what health care reform will mean to them. I hope you'll also read another Council of Economic Advisers report where we looked more generally at the benefits to the whole economy, to the deficit, to economic growth from health care reform. And so that report will be there as well.