April 1st, 2010
04:21 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama reaches out to small business on health care

'It's only been a week,' since the health care bill was signed into law, President Obama said at an event Thursday in Maine.
'It's only been a week,' since the health care bill was signed into law, President Obama said at an event Thursday in Maine.

Portland, Maine (CNN) - President Barack Obama sought to reassure jittery small-business owners Thursday that they stand to benefit from the recently enacted health care law - an assertion not universally shared by a traditionally Republican-leaning constituency.

The president took his pro-reform message to Maine, a politically friendly state he carried by nearly 20 points in the 2008 general election. While in New England, he also planned to make a quick stop in Massachusetts for a couple of Democratic National Committee fundraisers.

Democrats are celebrating the enactment of the landmark $940 billion measure, but the country as a whole remains sharply divided over its merits. Conservatives insist it will do little to slow spiraling costs and say
businesses will be burdened by a slew of new regulations and taxes.

The president sought to rebut that argument Thursday, in part by highlighting a tax credit designed to help small businesses provide coverage for their employees.

"This health care tax credit is pro-jobs, it's pro-business, and it starts this year," Obama said.

"For small-business owners who don't currently provide health insurance, they'll be able to factor in this new benefit in deciding whether to do so. And with that savings, employers may be able to cover an additional worker or hire that extra employee they've needed."

Under the new health care law, small businesses are immediately eligible for a tax credit covering 35 percent of the premiums paid to help cover their workers. The credit is set to expand to 50 percent of premium costs in 2014. Firms can claim the credit between 2010 and 2013, and for any two years afterward.

In order to qualify for the credit, a company needs to have fewer than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers, according to the administration. It must also pay average annual wages under $50,000 and cover at least 50 percent of its workers' health care coverage.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has said that roughly 4 million small businesses are eligible for the credit if they provide health insurance. The Internal Revenue Service plans to send postcards to millions of small businesses potentially eligible for the credit, urging them to take advantage of it.

Before discussing the merits of the law, Obama took a swipe at political opponents who predicted a catastrophe if it was enacted.

Over the past year, "there has been plenty of fear-mongering and overheated rhetoric" about the health care law, Obama said. Now, "those same folks are still shouting about how the world will end because we passed this bill. ... They say it's the end of freedom as we know it."

"So after I signed the bill, I looked up to see if there were any asteroids headed our way. I looked at the ground to see if cracks had opened up in the earth. It turned out to be a pretty nice day. ... Nobody had pulled the plug on Granny. Nobody was being dragged away to be forced into some government plan."

Obama also dismissed polls showing the country's continued sharp divide on the issue.

"It's only been a week" since the bill was signed into law, he said. "Before we find out if people like health care reform, we should wait to see what happens when we actually put it into place. Just a thought."

Updated: 4:21 p.m.


Filed under: Health care • Maine • President Obama
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Fitz In Texas

    Sure, and small businesses are going to believe this guy. 'Trust' is not a word that comes up in a conversation regarding Obama.

    April 1, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. chris l

    OBOZO is destroying small business in this country. FACT

    April 1, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. SocialismBad

    Nothing but another stop on the Odumbo Never-ending Campaign Tour... Hasn't this dolt figured out that the more he talks about it and tries to sell it, the more people HATE IT??!!

    Here's an idea! Try staying in DC AND DOING SOMETHING ABOUT JOBS!!!

    This guy is nothing but a media hound. He just loves to see himself on TV talking.

    April 1, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Ken

    Even here in the far left liberal fringes of the country (Maine) the Obama cool-aid drinkers are getting harder to find as this guy's extremist policies, objectives and vision of re-making America become visible to the average person.

    April 1, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Term Limits

    What about the major corporations, the large scale, national impact employers costs? If John Deere pays $150 million more for ObamaCare who really pays for it? Its in the price consumers will pay. Pick any item you want manufactured in the US the cost will be paid by you and me at the check out. Then in our paycheck and then in our taxes.

    If benefit cost rise, salary increases (or just plain salary) decrease or remain steady, taxes inch upward for at least FICA if not income, and the cost of goods and services rise as those businesses try to off set insurance mandates.

    April 1, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Capt. Snarky

    Sell, Sell, Sell. Sell that Healthscare program. Maybe if you talk it to death some more, the people will start to agree with it.

    Doubt it, tho...........................

    April 1, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. not_a_dem_anymore

    are you serious with that photo? Obama doesnt deserve a halo...

    April 1, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. terry,va.

    Why is the sell job still going on? Answer...... this is a piece of crap bill !!! He is calling business in to wood shed them after they said how much money it would cost them. Obummie care will cost many job losses and reductions in people's benefits. Put simply he screwed 85% of the people with medical coverage to cover deadbeats. If he wanted to help people that can't work he should have put them on medicaid and left the rest of us alone.

    April 1, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. BOW WOW

    Put a leash and a muzzle on this dog.
    Keep him in his own back yard.
    He's peeing all over the country.

    April 1, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Ben Dover

    Put some lipstick on that pig and sell it. Since this deal has a no return policy why don't we just trade it for a bunch a Democratic Congressman in November. Good riddens,.

    April 1, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Obama the Liar

    Another day, another lie from the liar-in-chief. Hurry November

    April 1, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Rush is to far left

    If it is so great, why does he still have to sell it??? Doesn't apply to him or congress, yet we are expected to be happy with it?

    How much more damage will he be allowed to do to this country?

    All you racists that are still supporting Obama need to wake up. I hope enough have awakened that after november he is reduced to a lame duck, that will reduce the damage he can do to america.

    I guess destroying america is all part of his plan. During the campaign he mentioned the "57" states of america. Hmmmm, interesting slip, why not "49" or "51." Both more logical slips than "57." He could have been subconsciously telling us his beliefs. There are "57" Islamic states. Now I'm not necessarily a conspiracy theorist, but if it walks like a duck..............

    April 1, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. Steve in Ct

    This photo proves he is too the masiah. Not everyone gets a super great halo like he got. I feel bad I hadn't seen it a year and a half ago when the majortiy of Americans did. He is for sure as great as he feels he is. April Fool.

    April 1, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. jon krieger

    why does he feel the need to keep reasurring anybody?Someone tell our "campaigner in chief" that he won,he got what he wanted and what the american people didn't!

    April 1, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Kathleen

    The bill did not go far enough. This bill will have more negative conterversy than positive! There should have been a Public Option or a Single Payer. Democrats "think" this is Health Care Reform are sadly mistaken. What about the people that will die from lack of care until 2014? HOW many people would that be?

    People are losing their excitement about this bill already!!!!

    All the Democrats would have had to do is Put in the Public Option or the Single Payer and sick citizens would not have to wait at all. Now,
    sick people will still not be taken care of. What the hell kind of bill is that. Democrats should have done what was the "right thing to do" when they had a chance. Isn't that what Obama's words were at the time of his speech, "the right thing to do" was NOT RIGHT!

    April 1, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. haren

    Looks like america does not deserve this good president.
    when whole world praised him we just listen to a party of NO whose only agenda is to bring down this president.
    And just tell me what he has not achieved yet, for that people blame him?
    He is delivering what we voted for him.
    It is mind boggling that all of a suden indepedent voters are worried about deficit, where were they when republican RAM thru bills without worried about deficit.
    Wise up america you will not find such a good president as a leader.

    April 1, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Kathleen

    I was sickened by Obama announcing that we will "drill" so he could "make friends" with the horrible Republicans. Pence and other Republicans, maybe some Democrats have received MONEY for going against "climate change". THEY HAVE RECEIVED MONEY AND LOTS OF IT FROM INSURANCE COMPANIES AND OIL COMPANY.

    I can't remember all their names, but PENCE is one of them!!!!!!

    April 1, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Laughing in Florida

    Okay, I happen to love Obama as a welcome relief to a former stupidly sinful presidency, but that halo around him in the picture is a bit much for me, too. I buy the Nobel Prize, easy, but not Sainthood.

    April 1, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    GOPer comments about what looks like Obama sprouting a halo in that picture in 3...2...1....

    April 1, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. File under "Sarcasm"

    "Trust me, it's the change you hoped for. Nevermind those big companies that are writing down their balance sheets for the lost tax deductions. You'll get hit with something else."

    April 1, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. kyle

    Is that a halo on the picture of the president?
    Really, CNN?

    April 1, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. File under "Sarcasm"

    I really like the halo captured in the picture of Obama. I never noticed it before. Maybe it's time to just call him Saint Barack.

    April 1, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Tim

    And to help convince them, he is handing out 4 ounce bottles of snake oil.

    April 1, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Tim

    And in order to calculate the credit, these small firms will have to hire a CPA at $100,000 per year to figure out what credit they are entitled to. Obama has added that new job to his jobs saved and created totals. It's win-win for everyone.

    April 1, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |