The future of health care reform in Virginia still looks confusing. The governor has decided that he will NOT be pushing to set up a Health Benefits Exchange or other steps forward on health care reform. Delegate McClellan and Senator McEachin will be introducing legislation drafted by VMSA allies that contains pretty much everything we want. Meanwhile, the health care industry will also be getting a bill introduced that contains pretty much everything they want. All of this could lead to an ugly legislative fight about whether the state should do anything and, if yes, what they should do. The General Assembly starts January 11.
You can help make health care reform better in Virginia by sending a simple email to your state representatives. Go to http://legis.virginia.gov/ and click on the who’s my legislator button on the top right. After entering your address you will be on a page with information about your legislator, and a button at the bottom that allows you to send an email to both your state senator and your state delegate. The email can be brief. Say you are a small businessperson and that you want the state to take action on health care reform.
One important topic that the General Assembly will be debating is the creation of a Health Benefits Exchange. A Health Benefit Exchange (HBE) is a co-op or buyers club that will allow small businesses from all over the state to join one big pool to purchase health insurance. The HBE should have an easy to use website where small businesses can compare and buy insurance plans. The HBE will be voluntary and will start operating in January, 2014. The Commonwealth Institute has a good article on the HBE at http://
When Congress passed health care reform in 2010 they built in a couple years of implementation. Much of the law will not be fully in effect until January of 2014. At that time the new health insurance exchanges will start operating. See http://www.kff.org/
There is a federal income tax credit for small businesses that provide health insurance for their employees. The credit will carry over into the future if it is not all used in one year. IRS form 8941 contains information http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-
United Virginia is hosting a series of workshops on starting and growing a business. The workshops are in an economic gardening model (see http://www.littletongov.org/
While the state is cutting funding for local schools and police departments, it is still providing a tax break for yachts that cost over $100,000.
The national Main Street Alliance is asking businesses to sign onto a statement about corporate money in politics. The statement is at http://mainstreetalliance.org/
The Virginia Main Street Alliance now has a facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/
This update is provided by the Virginia Main Street Alliance, a project of Virginia Organizing. Please address comments or questions to Bob Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-937-0752