Iowa & Nebraska Small Business Supports Health Care Reform

Release Date: 

07/07/2009

Contact(s): 

John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs
Lyons, NE - Today, the Small Business Majority released their survey of Iowa small business owners' attitudes regarding health care reform. Organizational experts, including John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, and Jon Bailey, Rural Research and Analysis Director for the Center for Rural Affairs, commented in further detail on the survey results and took questions from media on a media conference call. Suzanne Castello, an Iowa farmer and rural small business owner, also provided commentary about her health insurance experiences and answered questions on the call.
The audio of the media conference call and full report can be downloaded at the following:
Download audio here- www.cfra.org/files/audio/SmallBizMajorityReportMediaCall.mp3

Stream audio here-

Full PDF copy of the Iowa Small Buisness Majority Report- files.cfra.org/pdf/Iowa_research_report_62209.pdf

Full PDF copy of the Nebraska Small Buisness Majority Report- files.cfra.org/pdf/Nebraska_research_report_62609.pdf

A recent survey conducted by the Small Business Majority found that 70% of Iowa small businesses say health care reform is important to getting the economy on track. A similar number, 69%, support the creation of an option to purchase health insurance from a public health insurance plan. And 85% of those Iowa small businesses not offering health insurance say they cannot afford to, while 52% of those who do offer it say they are struggling to do so.

"The results of this survey clearly demonstrate that the current health insurance system does not work well for small businesses. They pay too much and receive too little in the way of quality and security. The results also send a clear message to Congress - small businesses want a reformed system that provides affordable, quality health coverage that provides options that cover more people and more businesses, including a public health insurance option," said Jon Bailey, Director of Research and Analysis at the Center for Rural Affairs.

According to Bailey, while rural businesses in the survey more strongly state that they cannot afford health coverage, as far as preferred approaches to health care reform and important reform goals there is no difference between rural and urban businesses. That includes dramatic support for inclusion of a public health insurance option in Congressional reform proposals.

"The lack of availability of affordable and quality health insurance is the primary barrier to entrepreneurship reaching its potential for rural people and rural communities. The cost of health insurance prevents family farmers and ranchers, small businesses and entrepreneurs from expanding their businesses and creating jobs. As this survey demonstrates, the cost and inadequacy of health insurance is killing the entrepreneurial dreams and opportunities needed to reinvigorate much of rural America," Bailey added.

Key Findings

Iowa small business owners view access to health insurance as a significant barrier to entrepreneurship, see reform as necessary and important to getting the economy back on track, and see themselves as part of the solution, working together with the federal government, insurers and providers. Other key findings include:

· The number one concern for Iowa small business owners in health care reform is controlling costs, followed by having coverage that is guaranteed and covers everybody.

· 85% of those businesses not offering health insurance say they can't afford to, while 52% of those who do offer it say they are struggling to do so.

· 84% of small businesses want to eliminate preexisting condition rules, and 76% see these rules as a barrier to starting a business.

· 70% say health care reform is important to getting the economy back on track.

· 69% support the choice of a private or public health insurance plan.

· 54% say their company has a responsibility to provide health coverage for its employees.

Small Business Majority is a leading national small business advocacy organization focused on health care reform. The organization conducts original scientific research exploring the experiences and opinions of small business owners about health care reform throughout the nation, and projects this voice to policymakers through a network of small business spokespeople.

The Center for Rural Affairs (www.cfra.org) was established in 1973 by rural Nebraskans concerned about family farms and rural communities, and we work to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities.

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