Although accepting federal funds to extend health coverage to the working poor would help small businesses, TEA Party Congressman Steve Daines has refused to hear the truth–even when told to him by business owners at a recent listening session.
Last week, a Billings small business owner told Daines he was concerned that Montana policies that may be discouraging his workers from keeping their jobs at a small business “listening session” set up by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Here’s what the owner of Valet Today, a local dry cleaning business with 27 employees, told Daines. The business hires “mostly women with high school diplomas and a few without” to do unskilled work that doesn’t pay much. The business owner told Daines that he has “lost workers who said they were earning too much to qualify for government assistance, but not enough to make it without federal assistance, the requirements of which shouldn’t discourage workers from remaining employed.”
But it doesn’t sound like Daines was listening–or else he’s too dumb to realize by refusing the Medicaid expansion for Montana, Daines’ fellow tricorn wearers in the Montana Legislature have created just such a requirement. These workers could get health care benefits–and remain on the job–if the Montana legislature had passed the Medicaid expansion. Without the expansion, they only way these workers would qualify for healthcare is if they had kids and made very little money–less than $10,000 a year for a family of three. A minimum wage worker in Montana earns about $16,000 annually.
Daines did not address the business owner’s concerns. Nor did he reconsider his own imbecilic opposition to health care for the working poor–low paid employees of small businesses. Instead Daines, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, decided to remain deaf and dumb to the concerns of small businesses and instead gave the man some of his usual mumbo-jumbo:
“Congress is actively reviewing government agencies,” Daines said.