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Oregon’s Small Businesses Face Big Health Care Challenges

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Friday, January 16, 2009   

Portland, OR – Oregon's small businesses say they want health care reform and are willing to pay for it. More than 65 percent of all Oregon companies are small businesses, and a majority of them provide health coverage to their employees. But, as insurance costs skyrocket, many are facing tough economic choices and Oregon is one of a dozen states featured in a newly released survey by the Main Street Alliance, called Taking the Pulse of Main Street: Small Businesses, Health Insurance, and Priorities for Reform.

Jo Ann Bowman, executive director with Oregon Action, says over half of small business employers can’t afford health care for themselves, much less their employees. And, she says, their choices are bleak.

"If we don’t fix this problem, many of them say that they don’t know how long they’re going to be able to stay in business."

Bowman notes, most of the state’s small businesses are ready to dig deeper in their payroll taxes to pay for health care reform.

"Over 83 percent of the businesses in Oregon said they’d be willing to pay somewhere between one and 11 percent for health care insurance, to be able to cover themselves and their employees."

Oregon is taking steps consistent with the Obama Administration’s expected plans for federal health care reform, says Bowman. Ten bills related to health care reform are scheduled for consideration by the Oregon state legislature this session.

Read the report at www.oregonactionorg




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