Baird touts benefits of health care reform for small firms

first_imgU.S. Rep. Brian Baird on Thursday transformed a meeting room at Clark College into a question-and-answer session about how small businesses can take advantage of federal health care reform, launching into details of the complex law and fielding questions from small business owners.The Democrat was assisted by Susan Johnson, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Mike Cvitkovic, stakeholder liaison with the IRS. “Health care continues to be a challenge,” Baird told more than 35 attendees. But while the bulk of the law doesn’t take effect until 2014, it already offers benefits to small businesses.Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, small businesses may be able to qualify for tax credits if they offer health insurance to their workers. But there are rules. For example, small business owners have to contribute at least 50 percent of the insurance premiums for their employees.The smallest companies with the lowest wages — those that employ 10 or fewer workers who earn an average wage of less than $25,000 — are eligible for the full 35 percent tax credit. As the number of employees and average wages rise, the tax credit is reduced on a sliding scale. Bob Byrd of Vancouver-based Pacific Die Casting Corp. had a question about that. He wanted to know what kind of tax credit he might get based on that sliding scale. “Where is that chart?” he asked.last_img read more