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Soaring Health Care Costs Pushing Small Businesses to the Brink

June 2, 2009

Richmond - A "healthy" savings for small businesses: That's what the federal government says business owners will get out of a comprehensive health care reform package with more health care choices, including a public health insurance option. It's estimated that reform could save small business as much as 18 percent in administrative costs.

Leonard Edloe of Edloe's Professional Pharmacy in Richmond says it's time for reform. Edloe's father opened the African-American-owned business in 1947. Leonard has been running it for 39 years, and he says his business was built by the working people of Richmond.

"And I felt like it was necessary for me to support them, because without the money or health care coverage, then my business ceases to exist."

According to the Kaiser Family foundation, nearly 14 percent of Virginians do not have health coverage. But Edloe notes their medical costs don't go unpaid. Virginia families with health insurance pay an average of a thousand dollars a year extra to cover the medical costs of the uninsured.

Edloe supports health care reform because of projections that soon, one in five dollars of America's gross national product will be spent on health care.

"No country can exist doing that. We spend too much, we spend twice as much as any other country. If we looked at it really in a critical way and didn't get the emotion and then what all the people are trying to do to protect their profit, we would have changed this a long time ago."

Opponents of reform say involving the federal government in health care will result in higher costs. In 2007, Virginia's economy lost as much as 5.6 billion dollars because of the poor health and shorter lifespan of people without health insurance.

For more information:

Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA