Business owners rally for healthcare reform

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Small business owners are urging lawmakers to keep the momentum going. This, despite the warnings of house republicans who say it will have a damaging effect on their bottom line.

Small business owners say the cost of healthcare makes it increasingly hard to stay profitable. Some can't even afford to cover themselves. Doctor Ken Brantley is in the unique position of being too expensive for his own good.

"It's funny, folks say, if you don't have health insurance, can you come to see you? I say, no, I can't afford to see me! I get my eyes done by colleagues. I don't have health insurance," said Dr. Brantley.

The optometrist runs a downtown Richmond office with his wife - who's expecting their third child.

"That qualifies as a pre-existing condition," he said.

That condition could end up costing them $40,000 out of pocket, which is why he joined other small business owners, for a rally on Church Hill, to make the healthcare system more affordable.

"Right now the cost of health insurance itself is more than we can handle," said Lauren Wray of Banner Idea's Online.

Lauren Wray was also there. She'd like to hire more people and market her banner business - but she pays thousands in medical bills.

"The cost of not doing anything I feel is just even more astounding than the cost of healthcare itself," Lauren said.

So they rallied in favor of democratic reforms - including a public health insurance option. But opponents like Eric Cantor said Wednesday, quote, "This is nothing but a job-killing, tax-raising measure that will actually take away the quality of care that we've become used to."

A fundamental disagreement still playing out as the reform is debated in congress and in rallies across America.

"It would've been far easier for me to say, I'm not gonna fight this, I'm not gonna say anything, I'm just gonna sit here and suffer alone. This is no longer a 'suffer alone' issue," said Dr. Brantley.

President Obama is urging the house and senate to pass their versions of healthcare reform by the August recess.

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