• 95°

Health care topic of Chamber banquet

Katie Hays, the executive director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was the featured speaker at the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Luncheon Wednesday.

The Montgomery native addressed a group at the Troy Country Club, saying the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was not in full support of the recently passed health care overhaul.

“Unfortunately, because Congress took a non-bipartisan route (in passing the bill) it left businesses in a position that we had to oppose the bill,” Hays said.

She did her best to highlight the 2,400 plus-page bill and specifically what it means for businesses.

Hays said the nearly $1 trillion price tag on the new plan will require $569 billion in new taxes and tax increases over the next ten years.

“It’s very difficult for all businesses and especially small businesses,” she said.

“It’s unbelievable what this will do.”

Among several other issues, Hays attacked the idea of a government-run health care system and pointed at employer mandates on health coverage as additional problems.

But Hays encouraged the audience to fight back by doing what they can to help change the bill, explaining the implementation of the new system is a ten-year process.

“The bulk (of the changes) don’t go in effect until 2014,” she said.

Hays said that would give similar-interest parties significant election cycles with which to change the makeup of the country’s political face and help implement changes to the bill before they take effect.

Hays also said that technical flaws in the drafting of the bill existed, and a number of legal questions were still in the air which could further lead to “opportunities to improve” it.