Ground-level ozone - commonly known as "smog" - harms public health and worker productivity. Ozone reduces lung function, inflames airways and aggravates respiratory problems like asthma and lung disease. According to the EPA, strengthening ozone standards will annually prevent or avoid up to 58,000 asthma attacks, 21,000 hospital and ER visits, and 420,000 lost work days.
But efforts to strengthen these standards are under attack by major polluters using an old trick - hiding behind small business. The Main Street Alliance is inviting small business owners to sign a letter to the White House to demonstrate that you support clean air and strong ozone standards to protect community health and productivity.Please join us in signing on!
During the last Insurance Exchange Meeting on June 27, 2011, draft legislation for an Idaho Health Insurance Exchange was presented for stakeholder input and comment. The Idaho Main Street Alliance has the following concerns with the draft legislation and its compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Click here to read more.
Idaho Main Street Alliance member Dave Silva: “Say no to insurance representatives on the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Governing Board.”
Idaho Main Street Alliance member Dave Silva, owner of Automated Office Solutions in Boise had a letter to the editor published in the Idaho Statesman on July 18, 2011.
Click here to read the Letter to the Editor.
New Jersey Main Street Alliance leader Jacquie Germany, owner of Nina's Nuances Interior Design in Montclair, NJ, had a commentary published in the Washington Post on July 10 in support of financial reform and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Jacquie writes:
Small businesses have been devastated by the economic consequences of Wall Street recklessness and abusive lending, with the recession leading to small-business bankruptcies nearly doubling between March 2008 and March 2009.
And small businesses are especially hurt when dollars that our customers and prospective customers could be spending on the goods and services we offer are instead sucked away by bad mortgages, or deceptive credit cards or outrageous overdraft fees.
If upheld by full NAIC, recommendation would gut MLR requirement, hand almost $1 billion in small business and individual rebates back to insurers
Washington, DC – Today, a work group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) voted to recommend NAIC endorsement of a legislative proposal that would undermine the Affordable Care Act’s minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirement by removing agent and broker commissions and fees from the calculation of administrative costs. The Main Street Alliance released the following statement in response:
Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite Associates, Inc and a member of the Main Street Alliance Steering Committee:
"Today’s task force vote was a very good vote for big insurance and a very bad vote for small businesses. The task force voted to take almost $1 billion in annual rebates to small businesses and individuals and just hand that money right back to the health insurance companies, no questions asked. That’s a real poke in the eye to Main Street.
"The value for premiums requirement is one of the key benefits of the new health law for small businesses. It should be implemented as written, not undermined to bail out the health insurance companies from having to fix their broken business model. If the full NAIC takes into account what small businesses need, they’ll vote to overturn this misguided recommendation and support the value for premiums requirement as written."
The Main Street Alliance submitted a letter on June 28 to the task force outlining the importance of the MLR requirement for small businesses and urging the task force to recommend no change to the requirement. Download a copy of the letter here.
One of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 was something called a minimum Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) requirement. This requirement establishes a basic level of value for premiums. Insurers either meet that standard or, if they fail to, owe rebates to their customers.
If this requirement had been in effect in 2010, health insurance customers would have received rebates of almost $2 billion from insurers who failed to meet the value for premiums standard. That’s some serious money back in the pockets of small business owners who've paid too much for health care – and a serious incentive for insurers to hold premiums down and increase value in the future.
Predictably, these new requirements have come under attack by industry groups that want to roll them back and allow insurers to continue doing "business as usual." The latest attack is an attempt to remove agent and broker commissions and fees from the value for premiums calculation.
What would that mean for small businesses? This change would wipe out $1.2 billion – more than half – of the potential rebates in the 2010 estimates. And, it would undermine the incentive for insurers to hold premiums down going forward.
The Main Street Alliance submitted a letter to a task force of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on June 28 outlining the small business case for protecting the value for premiums requirement and implementing the new minimum medical loss ratio standards without changes.
MSA leaders say decision striking trigger provisions allows corporate players to buy political influence uncontested, at expense of small businesses
WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in McComish v. Bennett, a case testing some state public financing laws. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled narrowly that trigger-based matching funds provisions of some states' public financing laws are unconstitutional, while leaving the foundation of public financing systems intact.
The Main Street Alliance released the following statements from national spokespeople in response:
Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, OR and MSA steering committee member:
This decision is bad for small businesses. We don't have the kind of money it takes to buy influence through heavy election spending the way big corporate players can. The Court's decision basically says to big corporations and their trade groups, 'Go ahead, spend all you want to buy elections, and if anyone tries to limit the corrupting influence of your activities, we'll run interference for you.
The silver lining is that the decision leaves the basic structure of public financing systems intact, reaffirming that small dollar public financing laws are a legitimate way to combat corruption and promote free speech. Establishing small dollar fair elections laws is a critical way to take corporate corruption out of elections and restore integrity to our political system.
David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Northbrook, IL and MSA executive committee member:
This decision goes against the very idea of America as the 'land of opportunity.' It means big spenders, many of which are big businesses, will be able spend massive sums of money to flood election debates and drown out the interests of small businesses like mine. It means corporate heavy hitters will continue to be able to buy influence by tipping the scales of elections with their campaign spending, then rewrite the laws of the land to favor their narrow special interests at the expense of small businesses - and everyone else.
The Main Street Alliance creates opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies.
- Trust & Transparency: Successful small businesses are built on the trust of our customers, where a handshake is a commitment. We advocate full transparency in our relationships with government.
- Inclusion & Equity: Small businesses succeed when communities thrive, and thriving communities are built on the values of inclusion and equity – where everyone is welcome, everyone is invited to contribute and everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
- Leadership: If small business owners don’t speak up, who will represent us? We speak for ourselves, so that the true voice of small business will be heard. Small business owners need to be an integral part of the decisions that impact us.
- Sustainability: We build our businesses and communities not merely for short-term gain, but for the long haul. We recognize sound public policy as an investment that benefits our communities and businesses over time.
- Accountability: We work hard, our employees work hard and we make direct contributions to our communities (paying taxes) with the expectation that our contributions will be spent wisely. We promote fiscally responsible government that uses revenues to advance practical solutions to everyday problems.
- Shared Responsibility: We recognize the role of small businesses as part of the fabric of communities and we’re committed to giving back to our communities. We believe everyone needs to contribute their fair share.