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Study Shows Small Business Owners Support Health Reform: Many businesses can't keep up with rising health care costs.

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Publication Date: December 2008

Publisher(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Topic: Health (Health care planning)

Type: Report


A study of small business owners’ views on health reform conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies and Lake Research Partners, shows that business owners are very supportive of health care reform and that health care remains one of the most vexing issues facing their businesses.

While some differences exist among small business owners on preferred ‘fixes’ for America’s health care problems, overall support was strong for use of various policy options.

* More than three in four small business owners surveyed (78%) said they would support a reform package that combines government-sponsored purchasing pools to allow small businesses to purchase insurance at negotiated bulk rates, along with tax credits to make offering insurance more affordable for small businesses.
* When asked if they would support a plan requiring employers with 10 or more employees who do not provide health coverage to pay four percent of their payroll to help cover the uninsured, a majority (53%) of those surveyed favored the proposal.
* Two in three of those surveyed (68%) said they would support a market-based approach to provide employees with tax credits to purchase their own portable, private health insurance, as well as encourage the use of health savings accounts and include tort reform for medical liability lawsuits.
* A smaller majority (53%) said they would support an approach requiring that at least one public plan and one private plan be offered to all employees, and also requiring insurance companies to provide coverage without regard to age or pre-existing conditions. The approach would be paid for by repealing tax cuts for Americans with annual incomes of $250,000 or more.
* 40 percent of small business owners said they think a mandate requiring employers to offer insurance to their employees would hurt their business.

The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Lake Research Partners conducted trials April 24–May 22, 2008, in Chicago, Ill.; Philadelphia; Denver, Colo.; Fremont, Calif.; and St. Cloud, Minn.; and Public Opinion Strategies conducted a national telephone survey June 26–July 30, 2008, of 400 small business owners, chief executive officers and presidents of businesses who have two to 50 employees and pay for at least some portion of their employees’ health benefits.