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Tennessee Small Business Would Benefit from Health Care Reform

December 17, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - Results of a new study show Tennessee's small businesses are under great pressure when it comes to providing affordable health care for their employees. The survey, conducted by Vanderbilt Peabody College and the Tennessee Small Business Coalition, finds young and part-time workers are more likely to miss out on this coveted job benefit, and businesses with fewer employees and gross revenues under $1 million are less likely to offer it.

Tony Garr, executive director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC), says the argument that health care reform would hurt small business just doesn't make sense.

"The small business person really needs help on health care reform and the current proposal in the Senate would provide a lot of help for small employers."

According to THCC, nearly half of Tennessee's small businesses do not offer health insurance. Three out of four say it's too expensive, while survey respondents cited expense as the key reason for not offering a health care plan. Garr says insurance offerings by companies will likely only worsen, resulting in higher deductibles, co-pays and less coverage, if Congress fails to enact reform.

"What they would be offering would be even more expensive and not very useful for the employee, which means the employee wouldn't be able to afford it."

The survey, titled Tennessee's Small Businesses and Factors Influencing Health Insurance Coverage, also found that less than half of the small businesses - 44 percent - agreed that businesses have a responsibility to offer insurance to their employees. The full report is available on the Vanderbilt Center for Community Studies Web site: peabody.vanderbilt.edu/x10443.xml.
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Randy O'Brien, Public News Service - TN