NEW YORK (CNNfn) - House Small Business Committee Chairman Jim Talent introduced a bill Friday that would make health insurance costs for the self-employed fully deductible.
The bill, H.R. 980, addresses the growing problem of inadequate health coverage among small businesses and their employees.
According to statistics from the SBC, more than 3 million self-employed small business owners and their employees have no health insurance. An additional 2 million of their children and dependents also lack health insurance as a result.
Under current tax laws, the self-employed can deduct only 60 percent of health-care costs, while large corporations can deduct 100 percent.
In 1998, Congress passed legislation to allow the self-employed full deductibility in the year 2003. However, five years is an eternity for small business owners with no health-care coverage, and struggling start-ups with little capital can ill afford to wait for 2003 to benefit from full deductibility.
"It's a question of fairness," said Talent. "Small and family businesses deserve to have the same deduction for health-care costs as Fortune 500 companies."
The "Self-employed Health Insurance Fairness Act of 1999" would give the self-employed immediate relief by:
- Making health care more affordable
- Expanding access to health care
- Simplifying taxes
- Ending Congress' unfair track record on the health-care costs of small business
- Delivering on a top, small business tax priority
Talent said he is confident that Congress will "cross the goal line and immediately offer the more than 5 million uninsured men, women, and children the opportunity for health care coverage."