OpEd: New Illinois Bill Would Harm Small Businesses

OpEd: New Illinois Bill Would Harm Small Businesses
Veteran's Memorial Park


OpEd: New Illinois Bill Would Harm Small Businesses (Chicago, IL) — The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of opening, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.

It’s hard enough for new businesses to succeed as is, and it’s even harder for Black-owned businesses. Illinois’ Black-owned businesses are often exceptionally small operations, 60% of which generate less than $50,000 in revenue a year.

That is why it is alarming that Illinois lawmakers are considering a new bill that will add a $10.49 fee for every single prescription that is filled for individuals, families and small businesses who purchase their drug coverage on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace.

The ACA has been one of the most effective programs in U.S. history in ensuring equitable access to high-quality, affordable health for all. Since its passage in 2010, we’ve seen a significant expansion in access to healthcare coverage, including for Black communities across the country. If passed, House Bill 4548 would increase drug coverage spending for Illinois citizens by as much as $486 million in the first year alone.

This bill will also make it more difficult for small businesses to provide affordable health insurance for employees, which is one of the biggest financial challenges small business owners face. Many small businesses across Illinois are still hurting from pandemic shutdowns that started nearly five years ago, and rising inflation has made it even more expensive for them to remain open. The last thing they need is another financial barrier to their success.

According to a recent poll conducted by The Chicago Urban League, 65% of Illinois voters are currently satisfied with the quality, availability, and accessibility of prescriptions. Furthermore, 81% think a new $10.49 prescription drug fee would hurt Black families across the state.

House Bill 4548 does not address the root cause of rising drug prices set by pharmaceutical companies and will only make it harder for people to receive the medicines they depend on. Instead of placing the burden of high drug costs on hard-working, small business owners and entrepreneurs, lawmakers should hold these drug companies accountable.

If Illinois is to remain a great place to do business, employers need to be able to provide high-quality, affordable health insurance. This legislative session, I urge our lawmakers to do everything they can to protect small businesses across Illinois, and oppose House Bill 4548.

OpEd: New Illinois Bill Would Harm Small Businesses


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