May 17, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2016) –  The Small Business Council of America (SBCA), a national nonprofit organization which represents the interests of more than 20,000 privately-held and family-owned organizations on Federal tax, employee benefit and health care matters, presented its 33rd Annual Congressional awards on May 4, 2016.

Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) received the 2016 SBCA Congressional Award in recognition of his dedication to small businesses across the country and in particular for the introduction and sponsorship of the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act.

This bipartisan bill would allow small employers with fewer than 50 employees to offer Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) to help employees purchase health insurance in the individual market- on and off of the exchange - as well as reimburse employees for qualified health expenses if the employee has qualified health coverage. In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance prohibiting the use of HRAs for the purchase of health insurance and related medical expenses because it was inconsistent with the requirements of group health plans. Employers who continue to offer HRAs would be subject to a $100 per day, per employee penalty, up to $36,500 per employee per year. The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act would allow small employers to offer HRAs to their employees so that they can choose a quality, affordable health insurance plan that fits their individual budget and healthcare needs.

“The SBCA applauds Congressman Thompson for reaching across the partisan divide to promote common-sense bi-partisan legislation that will greatly help small businesses and their employees,” said SBCA Chair, Paula Calimafde. “The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act, sponsored by Congressman Thompson and Congressman Boustany, will provide a solution to a very real problem and, once again, allow small businesses to help their employees cover the cost of individual health insurance.”

“I am honored to receive the 2016 Small Business Council of America Congressional Award,” said Thompson. “Small businesses drive job creation and grow our economy, which is why I was proud to introduce the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act, so that our small business owners can afford to provide health care coverage to their employees and focus on what they do best, running their business.”

The SBCA also recognized the efforts of Senator Jim Risch, Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Charles Boustany in promoting and supporting the small business community.  The SBCA also honored members of the private sector, including:  Robert Kent, of Bethesda, Maryland, Humanitarian of the Year and Troy Guard, of Denver, Colorado, Mort Harris Small Business Person of the Year.  SBCA Director, Sandra Turner of Oviedo, Florida, was this year’s Connie Murdoch award winner.