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Cost tops the list of concerns for small business owners as Congress prepares to debate health-care reform legislation
With Congress set to begin debating health-care reform in earnest next month, expect to see the trials of small companies once again take center stage. The 16.8 million uninsured workers at firms with fewer than 100 employees make up 63% of all workers without coverage, even though such companies employ just 41% of the labor force, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The share of small companies offering health benefits dropped from 68% in 2000 to 62% in 2008 as the average price of premiums more than doubled, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those small companies that do offer health insurance pay more than large companies do for equivalent plans. Comprehensive health-care reform could lower costs for small businesses, make their benefits more competitive with those of big companies, and improve the health of their workforce.