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John Crandall

John Crandall
Old Town Bike Shop
Colorado Springs, CO

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Opinion Research

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State Surveys Highlight Small Business Support for Healthcare Reform

Publisher: Small Business Majority
Published: May to August 2009

 
Key Findings

Small Business Majority commissioned surveys of small business owners in 19 states across the country (Alaska, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin) in May to August 2009. Response patterns were remarkably similar from region to region. The key findings below represent averages of responses from these states plus Ohio, New Mexico and New York (surveyed in December 2008):

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KEY FINDINGS

 

STATE-SPECIFIC KEY FINDINGS

We've conducted opinion research
in 19 states across the country.
Click on the desired state to
read its findings below.

 

Alaska

Both small business owners and commercial fishermen in Alaska support healthcare reform in hopes that it will reduce the cost of health insurance and enable more people to be covered, according to the results of a telephone survey sponsored by Small Business Majority in June 2009. In other results:

  • Just 21% of Alaska small business owners report that they pay for health insurance for their employees. Of those, 79% say they're really struggling to do so.
  • Among fishermen who are self-employed, 32% say they are uninsured.
  • The number one concern among Alaska small business owners in healthcare reform is controlling costs, while commercial fishermen are more concerned about ensuring that everyone's covered.
ALASKA RESEARCH DOWNLOADS
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Arkansas

Small business owners in Arkansas see healthcare reform as vital for getting the economy back on track, according to a May 2009 survey sponsored by Small Business Majority. In other findings:

  • Nearly two-thirds of Arkansas small business owners don't provide insurance for their employees, and 83% of those say they can't afford to.
  • However, 71% say healthcare reform is important for getting the economy back on track,
  • And 64% believe that individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers should share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
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California

Small Business Majority's August 2009 survey of small businesses in California found that they support healthcare reform and want it to address skyrocketing insurance premiums. The survey of 700 small business owners, conducted by Lake Research Partners and Public Opinion Strategies, found:

  • 61% say healthcare reform is important for getting the economy back on track.
  • Of the 55% of small business owners who don't provide coverage for their employees, the vast majority (86%) say they can't afford to do so.
  • 54% describe their access to affordable health insurance as fair or poor; it's worse for rural small business owners, 71% of whom report fair or poor access. Also, 44% of the Latino business owners lack coverage for themselves, compared with 16% of all respondents.
CALIFORNIA SMALL BUSINESSES AND HEALTHCARE
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Iowa

Finding affordable heath insurance is a problem for small businesses in Iowa, according to a telephone survey of 200 small business owners in May 2009. A majority, 55%, describe their access to affordable health insurance as fair or poor. Other findings:

  • 37% offer healthcare coverage to their workers; of the 63% who don't, more than three-quarters say it's because they can't afford to.
  • 65% say it is important for individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers to share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
  • The number one concern for Iowa small businesses in healthcare reform is controlling costs, followed by having coverage that is guaranteed and covers everybody.
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Louisiana

In Louisiana, just over a third of small business owners provide health insurance for their workers, and those who don't say they can't afford it. This was one result from a telephone survey of 200 small business owners in Louisiana conducted for Small Business Majority in May 2009. The poll also found that:

  • 69% agree that healthcare reform is important for getting the economy back on track.
  • The number one concern for Louisiana small businesses in healthcare reform is controlling costs.
  • 63% say it's important for individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers to share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
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Maine

Small businesses in Maine support healthcare reform and they want it to address skyrocketing insurance premiums, according to a telephone survey conducted in May 2009 and sponsored by Small Business Majority. The survey found:

  • 75% say healthcare reform is important for getting the economy back on track.
  • The number one concern for Maine small businesses in healthcare reform is controlling costs, followed by providing coverage for everybody.
  • 59% believe that their company has a responsibility to provide health insurance for its employees.
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Missouri

Two-thirds of small business owners polled in Missouri believe that healthcare reform is needed now to right the economy, according to a telephone survey 200 small business owners conducted in May 2009. The results also show that lowering costs is the respondents' top goal for reform. In other findings:

  • When asked if their company has a responsibility to offer health insurance to employees, 58% of the Missouri small business owners say yes.
  • A majority, 55%, respond that employers should pay some percentage of payroll toward their employees' insurance if they don't offer a plan themselves.
  • The Missouri respondents are politically varied: 46% identify themselves as Republican, 21% as Democrat and 26% as independent.
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Nebraska

Healthcare reform is needed to improve the economy, according to 63% of small business owners surveyed in Nebraska in May 2009. The survey also finds:

  • Only 37% offer health insurance coverage to their workers; of the 63% who don't, more than three-quarters say it's because they can't afford it.
  • Of the businesses that offer insurance, 72% say they are struggling to do so.
  • 59% say it's important for individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers to share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
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New Hampshire

Small businesses in New Hampshire say they're struggling to afford health insurance and need the system to be reformed, according to results of a telephone survey conducted in May 2009 and sponsored by Small Business Majority. The survey found:

  • 52% of small employers do not provide insurance, and 84% of them say they can't afford it.
  • The number one concern of New Hampshire small businesses in healthcare reform is controlling costs.
  • 68% say it's important for individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers to share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
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New Mexico

Lake Research surveyed 300 small business owners in New Mexico in December 2008. Key findings of the research include:

  • Only 24% provide healthcare benefits, although 83% of small business owners have coverage for themselves.
  • 79% of those who provide insurance agree with the statement that they struggle to pay for health insurance.
  • Insurance must be more accessible. 76% feel that people should be able to buy health insurance policies regardless of their health status or prior health condition.
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New York

In April and May 2008, Global Marketing Research Services conducted a survey of 409 small businesses across New York state. Among the key findings:

  • 70% of respondents say that attracting and retaining quality workers is the most important reason to offer health insurance.
  • 81% agree that sharing the financial responsibility for healthcare among individuals, employers and government is important to making it more affordable.
  • 72% favor giving businesses the ability to pay a fee to a statewide pool that would bargain down costs and then provide coverage to employees at favorable rates.
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North Carolina

The high cost of health insurance is a significant problem for small business owners in North Carolina, according to a June 2009 survey sponsored by Small Business Majority. In other findings:

  • Of the 59% of small employers in North Carolina who don't provide health insurance for their employees, 85% say they can't afford it. Of the 41% who do offer coverage, 88% say they are really struggling to do so.
  • 68% say healthcare reform is important for getting the economy back on track.
  • A large majority (88%) believe that people should be able to buy health insurance without regard to any past health problems, and 74% say these preexisting condition rules are barriers to starting a business.
NORTH CAROLINA RESEARCH DOWNLOADS
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North Dakota

Small business owners in North Dakota support healthcare reform and want it to reduce the cost of health insurance, according to a telephone survey conducted in May 2009 and sponsored by Small Business Majority. The survey found:

  • Of the 52% of small employers in North Dakota that don't provide insurance, 88% say they can't afford it.
  • 72% say healthcare reform is important for getting the economy back on track.
  • A large majority (79%) agree that people should be able to buy health insurance without regard to any past health problems.
NORTH DAKOTA RESEARCH DOWNLOADS
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Ohio

In December 2008, the national public opinion firm Lake Research polled 300 randomly selected small business owners in Ohio on healthcare. Among the key findings:

  • 77% of businesses that don't currently offer health benefits say they can't afford to, and 71% of those who do say they're really struggling to do so.
  • 73% sat that healthcare reform is important to getting the economy back on track.
  • 67% believe that individuals, employers, the government and providers should share the responsibility for paying for health coverage.
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Pennsylvania

The high cost of healthcare is a significant burden for small businesses in Pennsylvania, according to a telephone survey conducted in May 2009 and sponsored by Small Business Majority. The survey found:

  • 54% of small business owners provide health insurance for their employees, but it's a struggle for 71% of them.
  • 62% believe that their company has a responsibility to provide health insurance for its employees.
  • 72% also believe that individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers should share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
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Tennessee

The Tennessee Small Business Coalition sponsored a survey of 245 small business owners in the state in spring 2009; the research was conducted by Vanderbilt University/Peabody College, and partially funded by Small Business Majority.

Businesses in Tennessee need access to healthcare coverage to be successful, according to survey respondents. 93% agree that businesses need a high-quality healthcare plan with predictable costs for planning and security. In other findings:

  • 55% offer health insurance coverage to their workers and 78% of them are struggling to afford it.
  • 74% say it's important for individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers to share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
  • A majority believe the healthcare system should be transparent and accountable to the public-85% agreed. They also favor more public oversight of private health insurance companies, with 70% agreeing.
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Utah

Small business owners in Utah find it challenging to provide health insurance to their workers, according to a telephone survey conducted in June 2009. The survey of 300 small business owners finds that 40% offer health insurance coverage to their workers; of the 60% who don't, 88% say they can't afford it. In other findings:

  • 67% say it's important for individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers to share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
  • 80% support the establishment of a health insurance pool to create a marketplace where small businesses and individuals choose their coverage.
  • 79% of respondents agree that people should be able to buy health insurance without regard to any past health problems, and 74% say more entrepreneurs would start businesses if they didn't face those obstacles to coverage.
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Virginia

Small businesses in Virginia are struggling with the high cost of healthcare coverage and need the system to be reformed, according to results of a telephone survey conducted in June 2009 and sponsored by Small Business Majority. The survey found:

  • Of the 54% of small employers that don't provide insurance for their employees, 92% say they can't afford it.
  • 66% say healthcare reform is important for getting the economy back on track.
  • 67% believe that individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers should share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
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Wisconsin

The number one concern for Wisconsin small businesses in healthcare reform is controlling costs, according to a survey sponsored by Small Business Majority and carried out in May 2009. Other top concerns are ensuring that everyone has access to insurance and that there are high-quality standard benefits. The telephone survey of 200 small business owners also found:

  • 85% of Wisconsin small businesses not offering health insurance say they can't afford to, while 70% of those who do offer it say they are really struggling to do so.
  • 85% of small businesses support establishing a health insurance pool to create a marketplace where small businesses and individuals choose their coverage. Only 11% oppose this proposal.
  • 67% say it is important for individuals, employers, insurers, the government and healthcare providers to share the responsibility for making healthcare more affordable.
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