New Health Care Law Causes Small Business Uncertainty, Poll Finds

Sep 27, 2010

Small business owners say they are less likely to hire new employees, expect their costs to increase, and are more likely to reduce their current health care benefits because of the new health care law, according to a U.S. Chamber poll.

The poll of 590 small business owners and leaders—including CEOs, COOs, senior vice presidents, and HR directors—was conducted September 18-20 by nationally recognized pollsters Frank Luntz and Doug Schoen. The Chamber released the poll on September 23, the six-month anniversary of the health care law.

Among the key findings:

  • 56% of small business leaders oppose the new healthcare law. More significantly, two-thirds (65%) of actual small business owners oppose the legislation.   
  • 60% of small business leaders say that, as a result of the new healthcare law, they are more likely to consider reducing healthcare benefits to their employees.
  • 55% of small business owners believe their businesses will be less likely to hire new employees as a result of the new healthcare law.
  • 78% of small business leaders expect their business costs will increase as a result of the new healthcare law. 

“This poll shows that the very small business leaders who are being counted on to grow jobs are deeply unsettled about the present and concerned about the future, and a tremendous amount of that uncertainty is due to the new health care law,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits for the U.S. Chamber.

Philip Derrow, president and CEO of Ohio Transmission Corporation, is unhappy with the law. Four years ago, Derrow switched to a high-deductible plan with a health savings account (HSA) for his 130 employees and saw his insurance costs go down 15%. But now he worries that his plan may not meet the government’s definition of an acceptable “essential benefits plan,” and says he is bracing for a 20% or more increase.

Derrow’s also concerned about the new law’s limitations on HSAs, including a ban on using HSAs to pay for over-the-counter medications. In addition, the penalty for using HSAs for non-qualified purchases will increase from 10% to 20% beginning in 2011. “They’re making it harder to use one of the only proven methods out there to lower costs and empower employees,” Derrow said of the HSA provisions. ”This bill is exactly the cost-increasing disaster we thought it would be.” 

The poll is available here.

Tell your own story about how the heath care bill negatively impacts your business at

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