On Sunday the Miami Herald focused attention on the costs imposed on small businesses in the new healthcare bill proposed by House Democrats last week.

“The bill’s ”pay or play” option offers owners with payrolls exceeding $400,000 two unpalatable choices: Either pay the 8 percent penalty, or pay part of the premium for all full-time employees. For many, this is a lose-lose proposition. A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that 20 percent of its respondents would simply shut down if they were faced with this choice. They couldn’t afford it. One out of four said they would replace full-time workers with part-time workers in order to avoid having to pay anything.”

The newspaper concludes that a “mandate that does not address rising costs and forces employers to provide a benefit they can’t afford is not the answer. Lawmakers need to come up with a reform blueprint that offers a solution, not a penalty.”