Photo courtesy of the Small Businesses For Health Care Reform web site

A group of small business owners are tired of not being able to offer health insurance to their employees, which is one of the reason’s why they are supporting the Universal Health Care Foundation’s Sustinet proposal.

During a conference call Tuesday a handful of small business owners said they support the Sustinet proposal because it’s high-quality affordable health care that travels with an individual from job to job and does not exclude an individual for having a pre-existing medical condition.

Linda St. Peter, president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors, said she is an athletic 51-year-old woman, but her healthy lifestyle did not preclude her from being diagnosed with breast cancer more than seven years ago. She said she supports Susinet because it takes care of people both when they’re healthy and when they’re sick.

James Stirling, owner of Stirling Benefits, said “it breaks the connection between employer and healthcare coverage.” He said it also makes some significant structural changes to the health care delivery system and drives down the costs of health care across the system.

Sustinet proposes the creation of a massive health insurance pool which combines the pool of state employees and retirees with people now covered under state assistance programs and slowly begins to transition in the uninsured, underinsured, and small businesses. It also addresses the delivery of health care by making it more efficient, instead of simply dealing with the financing of the plan, proponents of the plan have said.

Lesley Mills, owner of Griswold Special Home Care, said she especially likes the idea of a “medical home.” She said the concept of a medical home, where all a patients records would be kept electronically regardless of which doctors they see, creates a paradigm shift and helps the health care system become more efficient by reducing medical mistakes.

Kevin Galvin, chairman of the small business advisory committee, said 80 percent of new jobs in the state are created by small businesses, but fewer than half of those jobs come with health insurance benefits.

Galvin said the group of 19,000 small business owners, most of which are Connecticut realtors, would like to see the legislature give Sustinet “equal play,” this year.

A public hearing on the bill is expected sometime in March, Galvin said.

According to the Universal Health Care Foundation, if approved by the legislature, Sustinet will begin in 2011 and will be rolled out over five years.

And if implemented over its five-year timeline, SustiNet will save households and businesses a combined total of $1.75 billion in 2014, Juan Figueroa, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation has said.

Figueroa also has said the upfront costs for the first two years of the plan are minimal although he was unable to put a number on it.

Click here and here to read about the unveiling of the Sustinet proposal in January.