Small businesses want Congress to lower health costs, but fear it ‘will do nothing,’ survey claims

Small businesses want Congress to
lower health costs, but fear it ‘will do
nothing,’ survey claims
By Camalot Todd
Nevada Current

Ahead of the November elections, nearly 80 percent of small business owners want federal lawmakers to help lower
the costs of health care, according to a national survey of 1,209 business owners.
And more than half of those surveyed expect to be disappointed.
“The cost of health coverage has real-world consequences for small businesses that affect our entire economy,” said
Shaundell Newsome, the owner of Sumnu Marketing in Las Vegas and the chair of the Las Vegas Urban Chamber of
Commerce. Rising health costs mean increasing costs for consumers or covering less of the costs of health insurance for
employees, Newsome said.
Small Business for America’s Future, a nationwide coalition of small business owners and leaders, conducted the
survey and found that 40 percent of small business owners who responded said they didn’t offer health insurance. Nearly
80 percent of them cited high costs as the reason why.
The vast majority of respondents (95 percent) said they saw the cost of health insurance increase over the last four
years.
The bulk of businesses in Nevada (99.2 percent) are classified as small businesses by the U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA) 2019 report, which defines small businesses as firms with fewer than 500 employees. The firms
employ 42 percent of Nevadans.
“We know more about what’s going on in our employees’ lives. We know if their kids are sick, we know if they are
taking care of their elderly parents or grandparents,” Newsome, who is also the co-chair of Small Business for America’s
Future, said. ”We have a closer view of what’s going on with our employees.”
The 1,209 small business owners responding to the poll, which was conducted by Survey Monkey, said that the
primary factors responsible for the rising costs of providing health care include health insurance carriers, pharmaceutical
companies and government inaction.
About a quarter of those surveyed said they feared any action by lawmakers on health care costs would “go too far.”
Another fourth of the respondents said they worried lawmakers “will not go far enough.”
And more than half — 52 percent — said they’re concerned federal lawmakers “will do nothing” to address health care
costs.
Government inaction respondents cited includes not holding states accountable for offering programs that could benefit
small business owners, Newsome said.
One of the suggestions that he thinks Nevada could improve upon is offering the Small Business Health Options
Program (SHOP), which are health insurance plans for employers with 1-50 employees that include essential services like
preventive care, dental and prescription drugs, through the marketplace.
While the state previously offered SHOP, its health insurance carriers stopped the services in 2022.
SHOP would allow small businesses to come together to lower costs, Newsome said.
But there are the additional costs that come with seeking medical care.
“One of my employees had to get some medicine for their baby, who had an ear infection,” he said. “There’s still that
cost of just buying that prescription … and the process of taking them to the doctor.”

That cost includes taking time off of work, along with co-pays for doctor visits and follow-up care — all additional
expenses that most Nevadans struggle to pay.
Other policy solutions supported by small business owners surveyed include requiring hospitals to disclose their
negotiated payment rates to employers and the public, cap out-of-pocket expenses and adopt policies that eliminate anti-
competitive behaviors that extend to drug companies.
The Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress earlier this year includes several health provisions, including allowing
Medicare to lower prices by negotiating directly with drug companies, and continuing enhanced Affordable Care Act
subsidies that were passed under the American Rescue Plan in 2021.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments