Pilot program to insure working poor fails

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House of Delegates Republicans defeated an amendment on Wednesday that would have funded a pilot program in Hampton Roads to help insure low-income workers at small businesses.

Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine added a $500,000 amendment to the General Assembly’s budget bill that would have paid for a pilot program to help small businesses unable to provide health insurance for their employees.

Under the program, the government would have paid for a third of the monthly premiums for low-income workers at small businesses, up to $75 a month. The employee and employer would have been responsible for the remaining one third.

Kaine originally had asked for a full-blown program to be included in the state budget, but the General Assembly stuck it from the final budget.

House Republicans did not support Kaine’s amendment because they thought it would lead to a big government program.  The measure lost 53-43.

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