Scientific Opinion Poll: California Small Business Owners Support Policies to Expand Health Coverage and Lower Costs
Healthcare remains prohibitively expensive for many of California’s entrepreneurs, who support increased state subsidies as a way to lower premiums
Sacramento, Calif.—While California has led the nation in expanding healthcare coverage to its citizens, millions of Californians still lack coverage and even more struggle to afford the premiums and co-pays for the care they do have, including many entrepreneurs and small business employees. Given these challenges, it’s no surprise a scientific opinion poll released today revealed California small business owners strongly support the state expanding access to healthcare tax credits and addressing issues related to cost and transparency.
The survey, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting on behalf of Small Business Majority, found California small business owners overwhelmingly support healthcare cost containment proposals championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Specifically, small firms support expanding the existing system of premium subsidies that help people purchase insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces. Currently, those making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) receive cost-sharing subsidies, and 73 percent support adding additional state subsidies to the existing federal assistance to help this group better afford their health coverage. What’s more, 7 in 10 support extending premium assistance for people who make up to 600 percent of the FPL, which would impact middle class Californians who do not currently qualify for assistance but often struggle to afford their insurance premiums.
“I was able to afford health insurance for my family in 2018 because I qualified for a federal subsidy, but that changed this year when one of my children left for college and my household was reduced,” said Alma Beltran, president of Graphic Image Label, Inc. in Chula Vista. “Since I no longer qualify for federal assistance, my healthcare premium costs six times as much as it did before. Our bronze premium represents over 10 percent of our income–and has the highest deductible. So far this year I have not been able to afford paying my premium. Today, I must decide between going without insurance and keeping my business, or closing my business so I can find a job with health coverage. No small business owner should have to make this kind of decision, which is why California should extend subsidies for entrepreneurs like me whose income is slightly more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level.”
Additionally, the poll found 7 in 10 small business owners support requiring all individuals to maintain a basic level of health insurance in order to reduce healthcare costs. More than 9 in 10 small business owners want more transparency on pricing and quality.
The poll also found widespread support for suggestions like allowing the state to leverage its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices for state plans (88 percent agree), preventing drug companies from paying to delay the release of generic alternatives (88 percent support) and requiring drug companies to justify pricing by disclosing financial information (85 percent approve).
“California’s small business owners continue to struggle with healthcare costs despite gains made under the ACA,” said Small Business Majority California Director Mark Herbert. “As this survey reveals, entrepreneurs want California to take further steps to strengthen the health insurance marketplace and address the state’s remaining uninsured rate by reining in costs and expanding access to coverage.”
The survey reflects interviews of 300 California small business owners with 1-100 employees. It has a margin of error of +/- 5.8 percent.
For the full poll report, please visit: https://smallbusinessmajority.org/our-research/healthcare/california-small-businesses-support-new-healthcare-proposals
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.