Health care reform could save American small businesses $855 billion over the next 10 years, researchers estimate.

The study, conducted for Small Business Majority, Washington by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concludes that failing to reform the health care system could eliminate up to 178,000 small business jobs in the coming decade.

Assuming that some kind of reform passes Congress and is signed by the president, restructuring health care to include shared responsibility among individuals, business and government could save as many 128,000 of those jobs, according to the author of the study, Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist.

The study also estimates that, without reform, about $52 billion in small business profits could be lost in the next 10 years due to rising health care costs.

In addition, Americans working for small businesses would lose as much as $834 billion in wages over that period because of cutbacks by their employers due to rising health care costs, the researchers predict.