New PIRG Survey: Small businesses crushed by rising health costs

Media Contacts
Brad Ashwell

Florida PIRG

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida small business owners are being crushed by rising health care costs, and feel left out of the current health care debate in Washington, according to a new report released today by Florida Public Interest Research Group.

“In this economy health care costs are killing small business owners like Elaine Grace” said Florida PIRG’s Health care advocate Brad Ashwell. “But instead of leading on this important issue, the national Chamber of Commerce and other inside-the-beltway groups are playing politics with a crucial issue and actively impeding reform efforts.”

The new report, The Small Business Dilemma, makes clear that small business owners, like Elaine, need health care reform.

“Year to year, we don’t know what our health insurance will cost, and if our business can afford it.  But we do know it keeps going up,” said Grace.

Ms. Grace was one of 343 small business owners and managers around the country to take part in a snapshot survey of small businesses by Florida PIRG, and the U.S. federation of state Public Interest Research Groups. Florida PIRG researchers surveyed businesses in both Tallahassee and Miami.

The Small Business Dilemma finds that the costs and administrative hassles associated with offering insurance weigh particularly heavily on small businesses.

According to the 14-page report:

·    Small businesses value health insurance as a key to business success because it allows them to attract better employees.

·    78% of small business owners surveyed who do not offer coverage would like to do so but face high affordability barriers.

The health reforms being proposed in Congress will “rein in health costs for small businesses and save jobs,” Ashwell concluded.