I started this company 7 years ago from the ground up with no capital. We grew as our income grew. This meant that every penny was precious and every growth step was carefully calculated and difficult.
About 4 years ago I had an employee come to me and say he had a very bad tooth ache and need to remedy the situation. His only option was to have the tooth pulled because he could not afford a root canal($150 vs. $3000).
At that time, and still to this day, we did not offer health care to our employees as the expense is just too high. I only covered myself on a catastrophic policy, $6K deductible with no prescription benefits. A policy that cost me about $148 per month(and I hear that it will be going up by 40% as my provider is Blue Cross).
As owner I was still paying myself a small salary at the time, I believe it was around $22000 for that year and I was by no means “living it up”. My feeling were that any extra money should go into investing in the company or to try to provide a higher salary for employees.
I told my employee with the toothache that I could pay for half of the cost to have his tooth pulled. This was my attempt at trying to provide some health assistance when legitimate health care was out of reach for my company. He took me up on the offer and to this day that employee is missing that tooth. No replacement, just a gap where the tooth once was.
Today, my company has grown to the point where I am considering providing heath care for my employees, but I still cannot justify the costs. The current Healthcare Reform Bill has proposed tax credits that should give my business the break it needs to provide health care to not only myself, but all of my employees.
This legislation that Congress is voting on today will be the deciding factor on whether or not legitimate health care will be a realistic option for our company. I have done what I can to support this legislation and will keep my fingers crossed. I do want my employees to have to choose between cost and care.
As a responsible business man and someone who values my employees greatly, I cannot tell you how happy I would be to see this legislation pass.