Reforming Healthcare for Small Businesses

Macomb, IL – One part of the plan to reform healthcare in America would benefit small businesses and the self-employed.

US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) says he's been working on the issue for years. The proposal would allow small businesses to join together when buying insurance.

"It gives them a chance to use those larger pools of small business owners' employees to reduce the cost and make it more affordable," says Durbin.

He thinks the plan will be part of the final bill sent to President Obama.

The president will address the nation on healthcare Wednesday night, September 9. Durbin expects the president to zero in on the agenda for healthcare reform for the coming months.

Durbin says if changes are going to be made, they need to win approval this fall. "I think it becomes more difficult next year (because) it's an election year," says Durbin. "And then the following year, people are thinking about the next election cycle."

Durbin points out President George W. Bush passed major legislation - such as No Child Left Behind - during the first year of his first term in office.

Durbin made his comments during a news conference at the Small Business Development Center in Macomb. He was there to announce the center will likely receive $400,000 in federal funding to expand its programming.

Director Dan Voorhis says the money will allow the center to hire additional staff, allowing it to spend more time working one-on-one with small business owners to review what the business is doing.

"We can then suggest to him maybe some different management techniques to make his financial statements stronger, and use that as part of a planning process to do better business planning in the future," says Voorhis.

The funding has already been approved by the US Senate Appropriations Committee. Durbin is confident it will earn support from the full Senate.