California Small Businesses Support Healthcare Reform, Poll Finds

More employers would offer healthcare coverage if they knew law’s provisions

More California small business owners would offer healthcare coverage to their employees if they knew more about the available benefits provided to small businesses by the federal Affordable Care Act, according to a poll released Monday.

The poll, by Pacific Community Ventures, found that a year after passage of the Act 43% of small business owners who did not offer healthcare insurance to their employees said they would be more likely to do so once informed about the small business healthcare tax credits provided in the law. The survey also found that 48% of California small business employers did not know of benefits to small businesses contained in the law.

Pacific Community Ventures, a 501(c) organization that works to create jobs in lower-income communities, also found that 57% of small businesses did not know about small business tax credits they can claim this year to offset the cost of health insurance, and 62% said they were unaware of health insurance exchanges. When they were given basic information regarding exchanges, 55% classified themselves as likely to participate. Among businesses not already providing coverage, 32% said they were more likely to offer it because of exchanges.

Other findings of the poll included:

  • 52% of small businesses providing insurance said small business healthcare tax credits made it more likely that they would continue to do so
  • More than a third, 35%, of respondents already offering insurance said they were more likely to continue doing so because of the exchange
  • 30% said the exchange is more attractive if it includes employee choice
  • Respondents classified themselves as Republicans (45%); Democrats (26%); and Independents (21%)
  • 29% of respondent businesses were in the industry and manufacturing sector; 21% were in the retail and restaurant sector; 44% were in the service sector; and 5% were in other sectors
  • 50% of respondents came from businesses with 2-9 employees; 50% came from businesses with 10-19 employees.

Beth Sirull, executive director of Pacific Community Ventures, said in a statement, “This survey shows the tremendous opportunity to further inform small business owners about the healthcare act's core benefits available to help them offer insurance.” She continued, “Armed with this information, small businesses will play a vital role in covering great numbers of uninsured workers to buoy our economy with a healthy, productive workforce.”

Pacific Community Ventures was advised on the survey by Small Business Majority, a national nonprofit organization that focuses on solving the problems of small businesses.

John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, said in a statement, “This is an indisputable trend. Both a national survey we released in January and feedback we received from small business owners during our recent California Listening Tour confirms that when owners learn about the benefits for them in the law they like what they hear and say it makes them more likely to offer insurance.”

Both organizations support health care reform.

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