Small businesses support beneficial health reform policies
Small Business Owners’ Views on Implementing the Affordable Care Act
Small Business Majority
June 14, 2012
The rising cost of health insurance has been and continues to be one of the biggest problems facing American small business owners. To help relieve them of that financial burden, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010—a piece of legislation that is already reining in Americans’ health coverage costs. More than two years later, the law’s fate rests in the hands of nine Supreme Court justices who are expected to issue their decision this month in the case against the law. According to scientific opinion polling, only one-third of small business owners would like to see them overturn it. On the other hand, half would like to see it upheld with, at most, only minor changes. This support grows after learning more details about its key provisions.
The poll, conducted in eight states with diverse political profiles—Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Texas and Virginia—found that once small business owners hear more about the healthcare law, their support for keeping it intact—either as is or with minor changes—rises to a 56% majority, while the desire for repeal falls to 28%—a 2:1 margin. Moreover, entrepreneurs strongly support many of its key provisions affecting small business owners.
One of the law’s crucial components, which has tremendous small business support, is the health insurance exchange—an online marketplace where small business owners will be able to pool their buying power when they purchase coverage. By a striking 8:1 ratio, owners say they would use their state exchange or at least consider using it, compared to those who say they would not consider using it when they provide benefits. The majority of entrepreneurs find possible features of the exchange very appealing, and, by a 2:1 ratio, they support their state applying for federal funds to set one up.
Furthermore, half of entrepreneurs report they’d be more likely to purchase insurance through the exchange beginning in 2014 when the small business tax credit will be available only to those using the exchange. That’s more than three times the number (14%) who say they’d be less likely to purchase from the exchange. Of respondents who fall into the basic qualification parameters for the tax credit, more than half are already taking advantage of it. Of eligible employers who aren’t claiming it, nearly half say it’s because they are not aware it exists. And nearly half of entrepreneurs say that if their company qualified for the credit, they would be more likely to provide or continue providing healthcare to their employees.
Significant majorities of small business owners also support nearly all the other provisions we asked them about: medical loss ratio, rate review, pre-existing condition exclusion bans, eliminating annual dollar limits on insurance benefits, preventing rating based on health status or sex and more.
Finally the poll revealed a strong interest (67%) in workplace wellness programs, if these programs would help lower coverage costs.
By Don McCanne, MD
Rather than asking about a broad spectrum of health reform policies, this poll was limited to questions about policies contained in the Affordable Care Act. From this poll no conclusions can be drawn about opinions of policies specific to single payer, but we can conclude that small business owners clearly do want reform that serves them and their employees better than the status quo in health care.
It remains our task to inform them that the policies of the single payer model will serve them far better than the meager policies of the Affordable Care Act. The majority of small business owners would support an improved Medicare for all if they had a clear understanding of the policies behind it, since it's far better for them than ACA.
Let's get to work and let them know the possibilities.