Utah bookseller becomes political example
Salt Lake City bookseller Betsy Burton has become a case example twice over - once by President Barack Obama, and again by a health-policy commentator on the Huffington Post.
In a blog entry on the Huffington Post this weekend, health-policy consultant Linda Bergthold wrote about Burton the owner of The King's English, a prominent indie bookstore in Salt Lake City and how she saved her business by a small-business tax credit that was part of President Obama's landmark health-reform law enacted earlier this year.
Bergthold explained Burton's situation like this:
Betsy pays 100% of the premium for almost all of her seven full time employees and would like to provide coverage for every one of her 25 employees. But last year, as the premiums rose yet again, she got to the point where it was either drop coverage or go out of business. Then she found out about a relatively little known provision of health reform a tax credit for businesses who have fewer than 25 employees with average wages of less than $50,000 a year. Her business certainly qualified. The tax credit doesn't apply to her as owner or her family, but what did apply looked to be very helpful.
Burton only heard of the tax credit, Bergthold wrote, when an AP reporter called to get a comment about how "Obamacare" was hurting small businesses.
Burton has since become a champion of Obama's health reform law, and even met the president at the White House last month and attended one of Obama's backyard gatherings in Virginia. (Here's the Tribune's story about the event, which quotes Burton, and catch her at the 32-minute mark of this C-SPAN video of the event.)
Bergthold holds up Burton's story as a case of the news media falling down on the job, not covering an aspect of the health-reform law that is successful while concentrating on negative coverage of the health debate.
"I'm not a conspiracy theorist," Burton told Bergthold. "I don't think the media conspires not to cover this issue. But I just don't understand why we always have to have a tragedy, a disaster, or some other sensational story to get information out to the public. I definitely fault the media for not helping get this story out."