As the Senate defeated a bill opposed by NFIB last week, the House is ready to take up health reform legislation this week, with battles over increased liability to be renewed. Some House proposals would introduce costly new mandates and place employers at a greater risk of being sued over a denied health claim.

The Patients Bill of Rights was defeated in the Senate last week, although a proposal that creates new mandates and increases costs for small business owners was passed. The House Commerce Committee might debate health reform legislation as early as Wednesday.

The health reform debate strikes at the core of Main Street's most pressing concern: the high cost of health care. For years, small employers have considered the high cost of health care to be the single-greatest impediment to continuing its leadership of the nation's economic expansion.

Small business owners support true-market based reform measures, like the expansion of Association Health Plans (AHPs), which provide small companies economies of scale and give Main Street firms the same opportunities enjoyed by self-insured firms that are exempt from state and federal mandates.