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Chester grocer backs health reform

 


Chester grocer backs health reform

The owner of a Chester grocery store told a nationwide press conference Wednesday that President Barack Obama's health care reform law has made it easier to provide health insurance to his 25 employees.

"From that first time (opening his store in 1979), we, as people of faith who feel like they have an obligation to their employees, have provided health insurance," said Mike Novak, owner of Mike's Thriftway.

"It has become more difficult as years have gone by, because we live in such a small rural community that depends entirely on agriculture, to provide that insurance for employees."

Novak participated on Wednesday afternoon in a White House-hosted conference call with national leaders, including Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and other top Labor and Treasury department officials.

Solis explained the benefits of the health care reform bill for owners of businesses of all sizes.

"Health is the foundation of our prosperity," Solis said. "Healthy adults are productive workers. Healthy children are better students. And healthy families can make greater contributions to their community.

"The affordable care act is giving Americans more freedom and control over their health care choices, and it's helping businesses succeed."

Solis said that, prior to the changes in the bill, premiums were skyrocketing, consumers were getting frustrated and others "saw their life savings disappear with one accident or illness."

Novak shared his experience as a small business owner, including his thoughts on the importance of health insurance and the struggles he has seen.

He explained that he had employees in the past who would have been devastated by health care costs, from a husband and wife with $30,000 in bills to an employee whose son's car accident resulted in $40,000 of health costs. It was the insurance that his store provided that prevented them from being "wiped out."

"My staff makes a commitment to me, and we make a commitment to them to provide them with the best possible lifestyle they can have, and I think insurance is a part of that," Novak said.

His business had to enter the market for a new insurance carrier recently and, according to Novak, without the provisions of the health care bill he wouldn't have been able to help his employees like he had in the past.

"Our options were going to be devastating to us," Novak said. "We were going to have to do some really tough things" like charging employees more, raising deductibles or completely dropping their insurance plan.

With the reforms brought by the law, Novak said he would be able to continue to provide the same coverage that had saved his employees in the past.

"I realized we could at least expect some sort of tax break of $5,000 to $10,000," Novak said. "And continue to provide what we had offered in the past."

The owner of a Chester grocery store told a nationwide press conference Wednesday that President Barack Obama's health care reform law has made it easier to provide health insurance to his 25 employees.

"From that first time (opening his store in 1979), we, as people of faith who feel like they have an obligation to their employees, have provided health insurance," said Mike Novak, owner of Mike's Thriftway.

"It has become more difficult as years have gone by, because we live in such a small rural community that depends entirely on agriculture, to provide that insurance for employees."

Novak participated on Wednesday afternoon in a White House-hosted conference call with national leaders, including Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and other top Labor and Treasury department officials.

Solis explained the benefits of the health care reform bill for owners of businesses of all sizes.

"Health is the foundation of our prosperity," Solis said. "Healthy adults are productive workers. Healthy children are better students. And healthy families can make greater contributions to their community.

"The affordable care act is giving Americans more freedom and control over their health care choices, and it's helping businesses succeed."

Solis said that, prior to the changes in the bill, premiums were skyrocketing, consumers were getting frustrated and others "saw their life savings disappear with one accident or illness."

Novak shared his experience as a small business owner, including his thoughts on the importance of health insurance and the struggles he has seen.

He explained that he had employees in the past who would have been devastated by health care costs, from a husband and wife with $30,000 in bills to an employee whose son's car accident resulted in $40,000 of health costs. It was the insurance that his store provided that prevented them from being "wiped out."

"My staff makes a commitment to me, and we make a commitment to them to provide them with the best possible lifestyle they can have, and I think insurance is a part of that," Novak said.

His business had to enter the market for a new insurance carrier recently and, according to Novak, without the provisions of the health care bill he wouldn't have been able to help his employees like he had in the past.

"Our options were going to be devastating to us," Novak said. "We were going to have to do some really tough things" like charging employees more, raising deductibles or completely dropping their insurance plan.

With the reforms brought by the law, Novak said he would be able to continue to provide the same coverage that had saved his employees in the past.

"I realized we could at least expect some sort of tax break of $5,000 to $10,000," Novak said. "And continue to provide what we had offered in the past."

 

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