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Bond proposes health care deduction for self-employed

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An amendment which would implement full deductibility of health insurance premiums for self-employed farmers and small-business owners passed the Senate June 10.

Sen. Kit Bond's proposal has been added to an amendment proposed by Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) and William Roth (R-Delaware). The amendment will be added to a tobacco bill currently being debated in the Senate.

The amendment, which also provides relief from the "marriage penalty," would make self-employed health care premiums fully deductible beginning Jan. 1, 1999.

Bond referred to the amendment as "simple fairness long overdue."

"It is totally unfair that large corporations can deduct 100 percent of their share of employees' health care costs, while the self-employed farmer, child-care provider or truck driver can currently deduct only 45 percent of their costs," Bond said in a press release.

Kenneth Bricker, a representative from Bond's office in Washington, D.C., said the passing of the amendment is a step toward making small businesses equal to corporate businesses.

"It's a huge victory for small businesses, who will have equity with their corporate cousins," Bricker said.

Bricker said the new amendment gives the tobacco bill a better chance of passing Senate.

"The fact that the tax cuts are in there is going to make it more palatable," Bricker said.

In the press release, Bond said that nearly 25 percent of the self-employed do not have health insurance. "In the end, we all pay for that," he said.

The bill is still being debated, as other amendments are still up for approval. If the Senate approves the tobacco bill, it must pass the House of Representatives before it goes to the president for signing. Bricker said he expected a vote on the bill this week.

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