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Health Care Legislation Passed by House Will Force Job Losses

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

The Senate-passed healthcare legislation will unquestionably burden Americans with countless mandates, new taxes, penalties and higher insurance premiums. Small businesses will be hindered by stringent regulations and taxes that will ultimately force them to slash jobs. This bill comes at a time when unemployment stands as the most important problem facing the country today.

The House on Sunday night voted 219-212 to send H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – the health care bill passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve – to President Obama for his signature. Later, the House voted 220-211 to approve H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, a package of amendments to the Senate bill. That measure now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be considered this week.

The Senate bill imposes a penalty of $750 per full-time worker on companies with 50 or more employees that do not provide coverage to full-time workers. But the House reconciliation bill would increase that penalty to $2,000, with the first 30 workers exempted. If an employer offers coverage but the coverage is deemed unaffordable to a full-time employee, that employee can opt out to a new purchasing exchange. The company would then be assessed $3,000 for each of those employees up to a cap of $2,000 for every full-time worker on the payroll. This mandate becomes applicable in 2014.

The National Retail Federation expressed extreme disappointment at the House’s passage of sweeping health care reform legislation over the weekend, saying added labor costs under the bill will cost many retail workers their jobs.

“This is a historic moment, but not a cause for celebration. Congress has embarked on a dangerous, anti-job experiment in the midst of the worst economy our nation has seen in decades,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations Steve Pfister said. “How many lost jobs will it take before Congress reverses course?”

“Our nation simply cannot afford more job losses during this economy, and many businesses already struggling to keep their doors open may not be able to withstand this added financial burden,” Pfister said. “Retailers have told Congress all along that we value our employees and want to expand upon the millions of workers and their families for whom we already provide coverage, but that to do that we need reform that would lower costs. Instead, we’ve been handed employer mandates that do just the opposite while doing little or nothing about the cost of medical care, which in turn drives higher coverage costs.”

“We are particularly concerned about mid-sized companies that are large enough for the mandates to apply but too small to have the ability to absorb these added costs,” Pfister said. “They could be among the hardest hit. And small businesses that drive so much of the job creation in our country are going to be forced to hold their size under 50 workers to avoid the employer mandate threshold.”

Under the bill, seniors will see their Medicare benefits significantly reduced, resulting in limited choices and higher costs. While Medicare will be cut, Medicaid will be expanded, despite the fact that the program is going broke and states are struggling to keep up with the expiring federal matching program. Imposing an unfunded mandate will only exacerbate Medicaid’s problems.

“If health care is not funded properly through Medicare then the end result will be greater rationing of our health care system and fewer, more costly options for Medicare recipients”, said Peter Shanley, CEO of The Small Business Council of America (SBCA), a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which represents the interests of privately-held and family-owned businesses on federal tax, health care and employee benefit matters.  “The quality and availability of health care will go down and Medicare patients will be hurt in the long run.”

The new health law also empowers federal officials to dictate how doctors treat privately insured patients (Senate bill, pp. 148-149).  Never before in history, except on narrow issues such as drug safety, has this been done. The bill will require nearly all Americans to be in a “qualified plan,” then says that plans can pay only doctors who implement whatever regulations the Secretary of Health and Human Services imposes to improve “quality.”  That covers everything in medicine — whether your cardiologist uses a stent or does bypass surgery, whether your ob/gyn settles for a pap smear or orders a pelvic sonogram.  It could also cover reproductive issues.

There are many problems with the nation’s current healthcare system that can be rectified through medical liability reform, pooling health insurance, offering tax incentives, allowing states to customize programs, and reforming insurance regulations. Forcing a government takeover of healthcare, especially through parliamentary gimmicks, will not solve America’s healthcare problems – it will only exacerbate them.

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Latest Senate Health Bill Continues to Overlook Plight of Small Businesses

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2009 at 12:15 am

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council recently announced that the latest version of the Senate health care bill continues to ignore the plight of U.S. small businesses, and instead burdens them with additional taxes and regulations that will drive business costs even higher.

“Rather than moving in a direction that heeds the concerns of small business, the Senate health bill imposes an even higher tax burden on our sector while retaining other tax, regulatory and compliance measures that will drive business and health coverage costs higher,” said SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

According to SBE Council, the “manager’s amendment” put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raises the Medicare payroll tax higher (from 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent), and exposes small businesses in the construction industry to a punishing employer mandate that will cripple this already hurting sector. The bill singles out the construction industry by not exempting businesses in this sector from the “play-or-pay” employer mandate that other firms with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from (although it does exempt construction firms with five employees or less). The latest Reid bill also increases the individual mandate penalty/tax, which will hit the self-employed, and maintains an array of other tax hikes and regulatory requirements that will drive up the cost of health coverage for small business.

Kerrigan said changes to the tax credits aimed toward helping small business are too insignificant to outweigh the cumulative cost load of the overall bill.

“The changes that were added to mollify small business concerns are too minuscule and complex,” said Kerrigan.

SBE Council has urged the Senate to start the legislative process over, and include small business reforms within the core bill. The group has long advocated a national marketplace for health care, robust tax incentives for businesses and individuals, the expansion of health savings accounts, tax parity for the self-employed, medical liability reform as well as support for local and state programs that are helping to deliver health care and insurance to those who lack access. Such market reforms and tax incentives will do far more to cover the uninsured — and at far less cost to taxpayers — than the $2.5 trillion Reid bill, according to SBE Council.

Actuaries Detail Health Care Reform Concerns to Congressional Leaders

The American Academy of Actuaries has detailed concerns for congressional leaders to consider as they negotiate combining the House and Senate versions of health care reform legislation. The actuaries underscored the need to limit adverse selection, whether it is stemming from new issue and rating restrictions or inherent with the current design of a new federal long-term care insurance program better known as the CLASS Act.

“Adverse selection occurs when higher-risk individuals are more likely to purchase coverage while lower-risk individuals are more likely to forgo coverage,” said Cori Uccello, the senior health fellow for the American Academy of Actuaries. “The result is that premiums increase.”

The actuaries said that an effective and enforceable individual mandate will minimize adverse selection resulting from more restrictive issue and rating rules that are included in both versions of health care reform legislation.

“The individual mandate language should be strengthened,” Uccello said. “The viability of health care reform depends on attracting lower-risk individuals. Strengthening the mandate through higher financial penalties and non-financial incentives would increase the likelihood that these individuals will purchase coverage.”

Regarding the CLASS Act, the actuaries continued to express their concerns regarding adverse selection issues that are likely to lead to high premiums and could threaten the viability of the program. The actuaries recommended adding eligibility restrictions to the program to limit adverse selection.

The actuaries also addressed other significant areas of the bills including an excise tax on employer-sponsored coverage, grandfathering provisions and medical loss ratios.  The letter is available at: http://www.actuary.org/pdf/health/differences_jan10.pdf.

Related Links

IBISWorld industry reports:
Global Direct Life, Health and Medical Insurance Carriers
Life & Other Direct Insurance Carriers in the U.S.
Funding (Federal) – Medicare and Medicaid in the U.S.

Pelosi Health Bill a Threat to U.S. Economy

In Uncategorized on November 4, 2009 at 12:04 am

Small Businesses Will Take a Hit With Tax Increases

The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) is reporting what the small business community has been saying all along — proposed tax increases on the “wealthy” amount to big tax increases on small business owners. In a November 3, 2009 memo, the JCT estimates that one-third of the $460.5 billion estimated to be raised from H.R. 3962, the “Affordable Health Care for America Act,” through a proposed 5.4 percent surtax is business income. According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), America’s economic recovery is highly dependent on small-business job creation and investment. Seizing more of their hard-earned capital flies in the face of White House efforts, for example, to provide small businesses with access to credit and capital, according to the advocacy group.

“No wonder small business owners are gripped by uncertainty. With mixed messages coming from Washington, they don’t know whether to add to their payrolls, hoard cash, cut jobs or stay-the-course,” said SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

Kerrigan added: “More than $150 billion of the proposed surtax alone falls on the backs of small business owners, according to the JCT. When will those who support these tax hikes wake up to the fact that they are sucking oxygen out of the very businesses that need this capital for survival and growth. Businesses can’t save or create jobs without money. All of the tax increases proposed in the House health bill will deprive the private sector of the capital it needs to hold onto their workers, create more job opportunities, invest, innovate and grow.”

Senate Health Bill Raises Taxes on Families of Special Needs Children

There are 18 separate tax hikes in the Reid-Obama healthcare bill. One of them caps the amount that can be deferred in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) at $2500 per year (a similar provision was included in the Pelosi-Obama health bill and written about by Congressman Cathy McMorris-Rogers, R-Was., for National Review Online). There is currently no limit to how much can be saved, though all monies must be used by the end of the year. Employers may put a cap in place for their employees, but this would put a cap in federal tax law for the first time. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), 30 million American families use an FSA.

-For most people, the $2500 cap won’t be noticed. FSAs tend to be used for things like small deductibles, co-payments, eyeglasses, over-the-counter medicines, and laser eye surgery. The amount deferred in the typical FSA is probably much less than $2500 today
-There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year.
-Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

According to IRS Publication 502, Medical Expenses:

-You can include in medical expenses fees you pay on a doctor’s recommendation for a child’s tutoring by a teacher who is specially trained and qualified to work with children who have learning disabilities caused by mental or physical impairments, including nervous system disorders.

-You can include in medical expenses the cost (tuition, meals, and lodging) of attending a school that furnishes special education to help a child to overcome learning disabilities. A doctor must recommend that the child attend the school. Overcoming the learning disabilities must be a principal reason for attending the school, and any ordinary education received must be incidental to the special education provided. Special education include teaching Braille to a visually impaired person; teaching lip reading to a hearing-impaired person, or giving remedial language training to correct a condition caused by a birth defect.

AAFPRS Opposes the Proposed Tax on Medical Procedures

The United States Senate is about to consider health system reform legislation which contains a 5% tax on cosmetic surgery deemed unnecessary for medical purposes. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) announces it strongly opposes the inclusion of this tax as it is discriminatory and has already failed in other states.

If passed into law, the tax will go into effect on January 1, 2010, in hopes of generating $5.8 billion over the next 10 years to help fund the $849 billion health care plan. The law defines cosmetic surgery as “any procedure which is directed at improving the patient’s appearance and does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease.”

The proposal further stipulates that if a patient declines to pay the increase when initially billed for their surgery, the physician is entirely liable for all charges.

Various experts declare this tax would be discriminatory against women, noting that 86 percent of patients are working middle class woman. Plastic surgery is no longer considered a luxury for the wealthy, as 60% of respondents reported a household income of $30,000-$90,000 a year. Breaking down this data further, 40% of the 60% reported an income of $30,000-$60,000.

“The bill claims to not tax reconstructive surgery, however, in many cases there is thin line that separates ‘cosmetic’ from ‘reconstructive’,” states Daniel E. Rousso, M.D., president of the AAFPRS.

Several states have already tried to impose taxes on cosmetic surgery, including New Jersey which currently has a 6% tax on cosmetic surgery. Since New Jersey adopted the tax on elective medical procedures in 2004, the Department of Taxation has experienced a 59% shortfall based on projected revenue estimates. In fact, New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, the sponsor of the 2004 bill, is leading efforts to repeal the tax. Eight other states have considered cosmetic taxes and have rejected them.

Small-Business Bankruptcy Filings Up 81% In June

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Commercial bankruptcies among the nation’s more than 25 million small businesses increased by nearly 81% in June 2009 from June 2008, according to Equifax Inc., which analyzed its comprehensive small business database for the study.

There were 10,339 bankruptcy filings in June 2009 throughout the U.S., up from 5,712 a year ago, according to the data.

California is the most negatively affected state with 10 MSA’s (metropolitan statistical areas) among the 15 areas with the most commercial bankruptcy filings during June. Los Angeles, Riverside/San Bernardino and Sacramento metropolitan areas led the nation in small-business bankruptcy filings. The other MSA’s with the most bankruptcy filings during the month include:

Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ
California (excluding MSA’s within the state)
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA
Denver-Aurora, CO
San Diego-Carlsbad CA
Oregon (excluding MSA’s within the state)
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX

“The data shows that the economic pain is continuing for small businesses across the country,” said Dr. Reza Barazesh head of North American research for Equifax’s Commercial Information Solutions division. “While it may not be quite as intense in some areas as what we saw earlier this year, we’re still seeing hefty increases in the number of bankruptcies in a lot of major metro areas. ”

The Atlanta MSA increased to 208 bankruptcies from 93 a year ago; Houston increased to 153 from 84; and Charlotte, which wasn’t even in the top 15 a year ago, had 225 bankruptcies in June, the fourth highest of any MSA.

The company’s report also listed the 15 metro areas with the fewest small-business bankruptcy filings. They are:

Springfield, MA
Lafayette, LA
Cedar Rapids, IA

Charleston, WV
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV
Hawaii
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH
Clarksville, TN-KY
Gainesville, FL
Gulfport-Biloxi, MS
Huntsville, AL
Lynchburg, VA
Baton Rouge, LA
Beaumont – Port Arthur, TX
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX

For the analysis, Equifax analyzed both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings. Chapter 7 is a liquidation proceeding in which a debtor receives a discharge of all debts, while Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy enabling filers to pay off debt over a set period of years.

According to IBISWorld, an industry research firm, the key difference in bankruptcy law – as a result of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act – is that the qualification requirements for a Chapter 7 filing, under which non-exempt assets are liquidated to pay some debts and many remaining debts are canceled, have become more stringent.

This means that those unable to qualify under the new rules are left with the less palatable choice of a Chapter 13 filing, under which debts must be repaid over a period of up to five years under court supervision. Any debts not addressed by the court plan under Chapter 13 are generally forgiven, though the filer’s access to credit is restricted for a period of up to ten years.

IBISWorld notes that in 2005, the year before the new legislation took effect, 71.4% of business bankruptcy filings fell under Chapter 7, compared to 60.3% in 2006.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax Inc. operates in the U.S. and 14 other countries throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500(R) Index.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, IBISWorld  is recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research. The firm provides  a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on over 700 U.S. industries – offering the largest collection of industry reports available.

U.S. Health Care Plans Ignites Mixed Reviews

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Health Care And Small Businesses

According to market research firm IBISWorld, around 162 million people – 61% of the U.S. population under 65 years of age – currently receive health insurance coverage as part of employee benefit plans.

Currently, small businesses are paying up to 18 percent more for coverage compared to large firms.  These higher costs spell out lower profits for the firm, and lower take-home wages for their employees.

Because of the higher costs they face, small-business owners are far less likely to provide health insurance for their workers. Less than half of firms with three to nine workers offer any type of coverage, while 99 percent of firms with 200 or more employees offer employer-sponsored insurance. With costs continuing to rise, more small-business owners have either reduced or dropped coverage.

With the health care reform debate in full swing, proposals working their way through Congress have included the creation of an “insurance exchange,” where both small businesses and individuals can purchase coverage, to including a tax credit for small businesses providing health care coverage for workers.

Concerns continue to be raised over the so called “pay-or-play” fees that are designed to encourage firms to maintain employer-sponsored insurance coverage.  But the current proposals exempt small businesses from these fees. For example, the draft bill from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee exempts firms with fewer than 25 workers, which is more than 90 percent of all firms in the United States. However, if a small firm decides not to provide coverage, the exchange provides a way for its workers to get quality coverage at affordable rates.

Mixed Opinions About Health Care Plans

reformAccording to an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive® between July 9 and 13, 2009, there is a 5-to-3 majority supporting the idea of a public or government health plan to compete with private insurance.

In addition to the 5-to-3 majority support of the plan, the survey tested the strengths of three arguments in favor of a public, or government plan and three against it. The three arguments in favor elicited the support of majorities between 68% and 55%:

•A 68% majority thought a public plan would be a valuable alternative to private insurance;
•A 63% majority thought that it would help to keep insurance costs down; and
•A 55% majority thought it would help patients to get better care.

 
Arguments against a public plan generated mixed reactions:

•A 55% majority agreed it would reduce the freedom of patients to choose the doctors and treatments they want, but
•A 54% majority disagreed that it would be “too much like socialism,” and
•A 56% majority disagreed that it would drive insurance companies out of business.

Putting Patients First Should Be Top Priority

Dr. Donald Palmisano, former president of the American Medical Association and current spokesman for the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights (Coalition) and over forty doctors from across the country today urged Members of Congress to slow down health system reform and do it right. The Coalition held a press conference at the National Press Club to urge legislators to put patients first when developing a system overhaul.

“The healthcare system is never closed in the United States. Hospitals never have a holiday and there are no vacations for Emergency Rooms. There are always patients who need care and we must ensure that care is always available,” said Dr. Donald Palmisano. “We are very concerned about the rush to pass healthcare legislation – we want Congress to take their time and do it right. When I was performing surgery, I wasn’t worried about finishing the operation quickly, I was concerned about getting the job done right. Lives depended on it. Now, we’re asking Congress to take their time and do health reform right. Lives are depending on it.”

Also participating in the press conference was Dr. Todd Williamson, a neurologist from Georgia and the president of the Medical Association of Georgia. In addition to serving as a member of the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights, Dr. Williamson is leading a group of 11 state, specialty, and county medical associations who are speaking out against key elements of the tri-committee bill.

“We believe that America’s physicians deliver the best medical care in the world and we are united in our resolve to preserve the patient-physician relationship,” Dr. Todd Williamson said. “Patient choice must be a key tenet of any health reform proposal. Implementing a government-backed insurance program will not give a patient added choices – it will eventually allow him or her only one option, the public option.”

After voicing their concern about rushed legislation at the press conference, doctors met with Members of Congress on Capitol Hill to talk about working towards a bi-partisan solution that would help the uninsured obtain coverage without negatively affecting the 250 million Americans who have health insurance. The doctors expressed their fear that a government-controlled “public option” would have an inherent advantage in the marketplace because it would ultimately be subsidized by American taxpayers and a government takeover of the American healthcare system would result. Consequently, millions of Americans would be forced from a private plan of their choosing to a government controlled plan, which would lead to long waiting lines to see a doctor, substandard care, and the slowing of medical discovery and innovation.

Dr. Marcy Zwelling-Aamot, an internist from Southern California and a patients-rights advocate said, “Patients must be kept at the center of healthcare reform. As Congress takes the important steps to reform our current system, we need to remember that at the end of the day it is the patient that should be the decision maker about their healthcare, not the government.”

Health Bill Could Benefit 6.6 Million Illegals

A new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 6.6 million uninsured illegal immigrants could receive benefits under the House health reform bill (H.R. 3200). While the bill states that illegal immigrants are not eligible for the new taxpayer-funded affordability credits, there is nothing in the bill to enforce this provision. Congress defeated efforts to require the use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program. More than 70 other programs of this kind use SAVE.

Among the findings:

In 2007, there were an estimated 6.6 million illegal immigrants without health insurance who had incomes below 400 percent of poverty, which is the income ceiling for the new affordability premium credits.

If all uninsured illegal immigrants with incomes below 400 percent of poverty received the new credits, the estimated cost to the federal government would be $30.5 billion annually.

The current cost of treating uninsured illegal immigrants at all levels of government is an estimated $4.3 billion a year, primarily at emergency rooms and free clinics.

On July 16 an amendment by Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) that would have required the use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving the affordability credits was defeated by the House Ways and Means Committee.

At present 71 other means-tested federal programs require use of the SAVE system to prevent illegal immigrants and other ineligible non-citizens from accessing them.

Even though there is no mechanism to prevent enrollment, it is likely that many income-eligible illegal immigrants would not enroll out of fear or lack of knowledge of the new programs. Thus the actual costs would be less than the maximum estimate of $30.5 billion. However, if illegal immigrants are legalized and could receive affordability credits, a much larger percentage would be expected to enroll, with a corresponding increase in costs.

Uninsured illegal immigrants tend to use less in health care on average than others without health insurance because they tend to be young. This fact is incorporated into the current cost estimate of $4.3 billion. However, government-provided affordability credits paid to insurance companies are the same for everyone regardless of age or preexisting conditions. Therefore, the younger age of illegals does not result in lower average costs for taxpayers for this program.

It is also worth noting that the report estimates that 38 percent of illegal immigrants had health insurance in 2007. Additionally, the report estimates that there are at least 360,000 uninsured illegal immigrants with incomes above 400 percent of poverty who would not qualify for benefits under H.R. 3200.

It is also possible that illegal immigrants could benefit from the expansion of Medicaid under H.R. 3200. The bill does not require identity verification for those claiming U.S. birth. Of illegal immigrants with incomes under 400 percent of poverty, about half live under 133 percent of poverty, which is the new ceiling for Medicaid eligibility.

On July 30 an amendment by Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) that would have required identity variation for those claiming U.S. birth was defeated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Only 1% Of Stimulus Money Helping 95% Of American Firms

In economy, Uncategorized on June 25, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Quick fact: the U.S. Census Bureau states that 98% of all U.S. firms have less than 100 employees, and approximately 25 million firms fall into that category. These firms employ over 55% of the private sector workforce and are responsible for over 95% of all new jobs created in America.

The American Small Business League (ASBL) has found of the $2.7 trillion that has been allocated so far to stimulate the national economy, only $21 billion, or less than 1% of the funds have directly gone to small businesses.

The remainder of the funds that were allocated to businesses wound up in the hands of the top 1% of U.S. firms. President Obama has promised to create up to 4.1 million jobs. Census data indicates the top 1% of U.S. firms have not created one net new job since 1977.

That aside, Los Angeles based industry research firm IBISWorld found that commercial bankruptcies nearly doubled in March of this year since last year’s figures.

“We can expect the current upward trend in business bankruptcy filings over the first half of the year to continue this year,” said George Van Horn, senior analyst at IBISWorld.

There is evidence to suggest the economic stimulus plan is actually harming small businesses. The Wall Street bailout bills were touted as being essential to increasing access to capital for small businesses. Some of the firms that received billions in federal tax dollars are actually cutting access to capital for small businesses. A story in BusinessWeek reported that JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest recipients of the bailout funds, reduced the flow of credit lines for small businesses.

Section 107 of the original Wall Street bailout bill gave the Treasury Secretary the power to waive any provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) he chooses. Paragraph 9 (b) of the bill specifically mentions the waiver of “any provision of the Federal Acquisition Regulations pertaining to minority contracting” and the waiver of provisions pertaining to “woman-owned businesses.”

The Obama Administration is supporting a new bill in Congress that could dismantle existing federal economic stimulus programs for small businesses by changing the federal definition of a small business. The new definition will allow many of the nations wealthiest venture capitalists to take billions of dollars in federal contracts previously earmarked for small businesses.

In February of 2008 President Obama stated, “It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.” To date, the President has refused to adopt any policy to honor that campaign promise. A series of federal investigations discovered that billions of dollars in federal small business contracts are being diverted to Fortune 1000 firms.