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Brian Imus,
Illinois PIRG

Survey: Small Businesses Crushed by Rising Health Costs

For Immediate Release

Evanston, IL — Illinois small business owners are being crushed by rising health care costs, and feel left out of the current health care debate in Washington, according to a new report released by Illinois Public Interest Research Group on Central Street in Evanston today.

“In this economy,” said Illinois PIRG Campaign Coordinator Ryan Rastegar, “health care costs are killing small business owners like Lynn. But instead of leading on this important issue, the national Chamber of Commerce and other inside-the-beltway groups are playing politics with a crucial issue and actively impeding reform efforts.”

The new report, The Small Business Dilemma, makes clear that small business owners, like Lynn Bednar, owner of Walsh Natural Health Care, need health care reform.

"While I'd like to provide health care benefits, it's just too expensive. With a pool of only 4 employees, if even one person has a health issue, the cost becomes prohibitive for all,” Bednar said.

Bednar was one of 343 small business owners and managers around the country to take part in a snapshot survey of small businesses by U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups. The result, The Small Business Dilemma, finds that the costs and administrative hassles associated with offering insurance weigh particularly heavily on small businesses.

According to the 14-page report:
• Small businesses value health insurance as a key to business success because it allows them to attract better employees.

• 78% of small business owners surveyed who do not offer coverage would like to do so but face high affordability barriers

“At our shop, we’re underinsured,” said Bob Hausheer, owner of Morning Glory Florist in Glenview.  “We’d like to be able to offer better health benefits to our employees, but the system we face denies us that ability. Small businesses need better choices.”

“The health reforms being proposed in Congress will rein in health costs for small businesses and save jobs,” Rastegar concluded.

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