Small Businessman Says Health Insurance Companies Aren't the Problem

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 31, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak are still beating the "health care insurance companies are slippery guys" drum. This time, the congressmen are charging the insurers with purging small businesses from their rolls when covered employees get sick.

Now, Waxman is saying — and I quote here: "We need to better understand how widespread this harmful and destructive practice has become and how it is impacting small business and their employees across the country."

Well, next guest is a small-business owner. He says Waxman should take a look at his health care bill first.

Norman Oberlander says that is hurting more.

Norman, good to have you.


CAVUTO: They're saying that guys like you are experiencing firsthand insurance companies who pull the rug out of your workers, and whether it's they're individually signed up or — or you are providing them coverage.

Have you seen any evidence of that?

OBERLANDER: Personally, no.

My employees are all happily covered by their spouses, or — or whatever, and they choose not to have coverage through my company.

In previous years, I used to — of course — cover my employees. I always thought it was very important.

CAVUTO: But, obviously, you couldn't afford to do that?

OBERLANDER: No. No. Today...

CAVUTO: Well, the government is here to help, Norm.


CAVUTO: They want to see that you can.

OBERLANDER: I am sure, if they wanted to, it would be there.

What I did as a small businessman is, I — the money that I would have put into paying for their insurance, I put into their compensation package, their — their pay.

CAVUTO: So, then they could take care of it?

OBERLANDER: They could take care of it themselves if they want to, also.

CAVUTO: Did it ever chase good prospective employees away, that, oh, wait, you don't have health care, Norm; I'm out of here?

OBERLANDER: In the older days, yes. But I would always have it. I always offered it, until I wasn't able to need it.

CAVUTO: OK. Now, we should say, you are in the advertising and marketing...


OBERLANDER: Advertising, marketing, yes.

CAVUTO: Just a hurt field.

OBERLANDER: It is a tough field...


CAVUTO: And health care or some reforms in health care that would enable folks like you maybe to provide that, or the government to provide that for your workers is seen, at least in the eyes of the congressmen, to be a net positive.

You don't agree. Why not?

OBERLANDER: Not if it is something that we can't choose that is beneficial to each employee.

Being a small company, when I did offer the benefits, I would ask the employees kind of what — what is better for them, and we would select. I would get somebody in. We would all sit down.

CAVUTO: So — but they are saying there's going to be freedom in this. You're — you have your doubts...

OBERLANDER: I don't think so. I think it is a freedom to have plan A or plan B, probably.

CAVUTO: So, when they're looking at insurance companies and whether they're sticking it to you, you are more afraid about, what, eventually, the government will be sticking to you?

OBERLANDER: Pretty much.

I wish there was more flexibility as far as being able to get out of the state into another state, so I can...

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

OBERLANDER: ... compare.

You are kind of pigeonholed in, yes. I think, if they opened that up, that would greatly give us more choice, and there would be a more open market.

CAVUTO: Norman, hang in there. We will see how your business fares. And maybe the whole thing just turns around real quick.

Norman, thank you very much.

OBERLANDER: My pleasure. Thank you.

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