Health care help: New for 2009

The federal government hasn't come up with a plan to make health insurance accessible and affordable to small businesses - so many states are taking action on their own. We have the rundown on 8 new initiatives.

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Governor Bob Riley
Republican Governor Bob Riley has been talking for several years about providing tax credits to small business owners and employees who purchase health insurance. In 2007, as part of his second-term agenda, he introduced Health Insurance Tax Incentives for Small Business and their Employees. That proposal evolved into the Small Business Health Insurance Premium Deduction Enhancement Act, which was passed by the legislature last spring and took effect January 1.

The plan, backed by the Business Council of Alabama, allows business owners with fewer than 25 employees to deduct 150% of the amount they pay for employee health insurance premiums from their state income taxes. It also allows employees of small businesses who earn $50,000 or less annually to deduct 150% of their portion of the premium payment from their state income taxes.

"Ninety percent of business in Alabama is small business, and more than 80% of all new jobs created in Alabama are created by small business," says Todd Stacy, a spokesman for the governor. The aim of the legislation is to make health insurance more affordable for those companies and their employees, he says.

NEXT: Maryland
LAST UPDATE: Jan 28 2009 | 9:53 AM ET
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