Election Watch: Obama unveils $6 billion small business health plan

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has presented his plan for a $6 billion per year health plan that would provide tax credits for small businesses that health insurance to employees.

The Obama plan requires businesses to provide coverage or pay a fine, but it exempts small businesses from the mandate, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Obama camp reports that less than half of small firms offer heaLth insurance to employees, down from 57% in 2000.

Under the Obama plan, taxpayers would reimburse small businesses as much as 50% on the health insurance premiums they pay on behalf of employees in the form of tax credits. To qualify, the businesses will have to offer a "quality health plan" for all workers and cover a "meaningful" share of the costs, said Jason Furman, Obama economic policy director.

Obama has also indicated plans to make it easier for generic versions of many drugs to enter the market, stimulating competition and driving down prices, the Journal reports.

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