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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Study: TX small businesses want lower health care costs, higher transparency

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Tuesday, January 2, 2024   

A new survey of the nation's small business owners showed a major challenge to successful operations is trying to provide health care for their employees.

The survey by the group Small Business for America's Future polled more than 1,000 small business owners, including 110 in Texas.

Dr. Erika Gonzalez, co-chair of the group, reported 74% of respondents said they were not in a position to offer employees health insurance, which she said puts them at a disadvantage to hire or retain top talent.

"If you're not able to offer that, a lot of employees are going to pass," Gonzalez pointed out. "Even if it's a good opportunity, they're going to pass on if it means they can get better coverage and security for their families elsewhere."

The survey revealed a bipartisan concern and consensus about the issue, with a nearly equal representation of Republican, Democratic and independent small business owners. Gonzalez noted respondents supported regulating anticompetitive practices and boosting price transparency in billing in order to bring down the costs.

Recent legislation passed by Texas lawmakers could open up the health care marketplace by eliminating anticompetitive clauses in health insurance contracts.

Gonzalez called it a step in the right direction but argued more is needed.

"They're also looking at legislation that would help with the facility fees that sometimes are added on by hospitals," Gonzalez explained. "All of this would reflect back on knowing why they're paying for what they're paying and giving them transparency as to the bills that they're getting."

She admitted the health care challenge will not be solved overnight, but changes need to be implemented to determine if they improve the overall system in two to three years. The Small Business for America's Future survey found annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage were nearly $24,000 in 2023.


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