Micro-business Owners Divided on Health Care Reform

September 9, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A national survey measuring the impact of rising health care costs on businesses with 10 employees or fewer shows that micro-businesses strongly support health care reform.

However, the survey conducted by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) found respondents are divided on which health care proposal is best. Nearly 85% of micro-business owners support a system that provides health care coverage for all Americans. Nearly 23% indicated they prefer the current system; 25.4% support a government-run system requiring every American to purchase coverage; and 24.5% favor a government-run system paid for through taxes.

The remaining respondents either do not favor any of those options or do not have an opinion, NASE said in a press release. The survey results show micro-business owners are opposed to mandates – more than 42% do not believe that all employers should be required to provide access to health insurance for full-time employees, and more than 38% feel that Americans should not be compelled by the government to purchase health insurance.

Respondents to the NASE survey said the top three changes they would like to see to the current system are making the cost of procedures, treatments and prescriptions more readily available (76.8%), giving individuals greater choice and influence over their benefits (72.4%), and providing access to more information on treatment options (71.8%).

The top three factors driving high health care costs cited by respondents include: insurance companies make too much profit (29%), doctors and hospitals overcharge for their services (21%), and medical malpractice suits (13%).

Micro-business owners surveyed by NASE expressed hope that the winner of the upcoming presidential election will drive additional changes, including:

  • Allowing small businesses to group together via associations or organizations to purchase health insurance (83.3%),
  • Encouraging businesses and the self-employed to purchase health insurance for themselves and their employees by providing them with tax credits (71.9%),
  • Reforming the tax treatment of health coverage so that regardless of whether you purchase health insurance on your own or access it through an employer you receive the same tax benefits (68.3%),
  • Increasing regulation on health insurance, pharmaceuticals and hospitals (53.6%),
  • Expanding government programs to cover uninsured children and low-income individuals unable to afford coverage (49.6%), and
  • Increasing funding to and require all states to have high-risk pools that provide health coverage to individuals with high health care costs due to chronic or terminal illnesses. (48%).