The National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small-business advocacy group, in a briefing today released its Small Business Health-Care Survey, the most recent, comprehensive small-business health-care data available. The survey of small-business owners identified cost as the single most important problem facing the health system today.

“Once again small-business owners overwhelmingly voiced the need for Congress to address ever-rising health insurance costs,” said William Dennis, senior research fellow, NFIB Research Foundation. “A difference in top priorities appears between Congress and America’s small-business owners. One is primarily interested in coverage and the other cost.  If lawmakers can help reduce costs, small businesses can help increase coverage in the long-run.”

The new survey, which polled NFIB members, is the latest health-care research measuring the awareness, attitudes and beliefs of the small-business community. Small-business owners responding to the survey indicated they believe the price mechanism could work to reduce health-care costs. Seventy percent of NFIB members believe that making consumers more aware of health care and health insurance costs will encourage them to become better health-care consumers.

Additionally, small-business owners indicated they are wary of modifying the tax structure significantly even if it may ultimately work to their benefit. However, respondents do favor equalizing the tax structure for those obtaining health insurance, regardless of its source.

Additional highlights from the survey include:

  • 79 percent of NFIB members believe the overall quality of health care available to MOST Americans to be “excellent” or “pretty good”
  • 95 percent believe that everyone who benefits from financial assistance for health care should be required to pay some portion of their health care or insurance
  • 57 percent indicate a preference for individuals above a reasonable income level to be required to have health insurance or be able to prove financial responsibility
  • 71 percent think all health-care providers who expect reimbursement from insurers should be required to have computerized records

“Lawmakers now have a real opportunity to act. This issue cannot be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach – what works for big business will not work for small and independent businesses,” said Todd Stottlemyer, NFIB president and CEO. “As our country continues to thrive on the jobs created by our entrepreneurs, it is time Congress takes action to address this mounting problem that will, inevitably, diminish this growth if it continues to go unaddressed.”

Click here to review the executive summary and complete survey results.