Small businesses want Congress to cut healthcare costs, but fear it will 'do nothing', survey finds - Nevada Current

Small businesses want Congress to cut healthcare costs, but fear it will ‘do nothing’, survey finds – Nevada Current

Ahead of the November election, nearly 80% of small business owners want federal lawmakers to help lower health care costs, 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 consequences for small businesses that affect our entire economy,” said Shaundell Newsome, owner of Sumnu Marketing in Las Vegas and president of the Urban Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Rising health care costs mean higher costs for consumers or less coverage of health insurance costs for employees, Newsome said.

Small Business for America’s Future, a national coalition of small business owners and leaders, conducted the survey and found that 40% of small business owners who responded said they did not offer health insurance. Nearly 80% cited high costs as the reason.

The vast majority of respondents (95%) said they had seen the cost of health insurance increase over the past four years.

The majority of Nevada businesses (99.2%) are classified as small businesses by the 2019 report of the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), which defines small businesses as companies with less than 500 employees. The firms employ 42% of Nevada residents.

“We know more about what is going on in the lives of our employees. We know if their children are sick, we know if they are taking care of their elderly parents or grandparents,” Newsome, who is also co-chair of Small Business for America’s Future, said. “We have a clearer view of what is happening with our employees.”

The 1,209 small business owners who responded to the survey, conducted by Survey Monkey, said the main factors responsible for the rising costs of providing health care include health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals. government inaction.

About a quarter of those polled said they fear any action by lawmakers on health care costs would “go too far”. Another quarter of those polled said they feared lawmakers “didn’t go far enough”.

And more than half – 52% – said they fear federal lawmakers are “doing nothing” to address health care costs.

Respondents to government inaction cited include failing to hold states accountable for delivering programs that could benefit small business owners, Newsome said.

One of the suggestions he thinks Nevada could improve on is offering the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which are health insurance plans for employers with 1 to 50 employees who include essential services such as preventive care, dental care and prescription drugs, through the market.

While the state previously offered SHOP, its health insurance funds stopped services in 2022.

SHOP would allow small businesses to band together to cut costs, Newsome said.

But there are the additional costs that come with seeking medical care.

“One of my employees had to look for medicine for her baby, who had an ear infection,” he said. “There’s always that cost of buying that prescription…and the process of getting them to the doctor.”

This cost includes time off from work, as well as co-payments for doctor visits and follow-up care – all additional expenses that most people in Nevada 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, capping out-of-pocket spending, and adopting policies that eliminate anti-competitive behavior that extend to pharmaceutical companies.

The Cut Inflation Act passed by Congress earlier this year includes several health care provisions, including allowing Medicare to lower prices by negotiating directly with pharmaceutical companies, and continuing improved subsidies from the Affordable Care Act that were passed as part of the US bailout in 2021.

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