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Press Release

Today’s Date: July 8, 2009      

Judi Hilman or Jessica Kendrick
Executive Director/Community Engagement Director
Utah Health Policy Project
Office: (801) 433-2299
Cell: (801) 870-3887 / (801) 712-4354

Salt Lake City – Today, small business owners, Chamber of Commerce presidents, Local First Utah, the Utah Business Group on Health (UBGH), and others joined with Small Business Majority to announce the findings of a new scientific survey of Utah small business owners and their attitudes about health care reform and rising costs. 

An copy of the report is available here.  

The research was conducted by Lake Research Partners in early June through a random telephone survey of 300 small businesses in Utah.  “The results underscore and lend specificity to what has become a painful fact: Utah’s small businesses are struggling to afford healthcare coverage.   Our small business owners want and need a Federal-state partnership around bipartisan health reforms this year,” said John Pitt, President and CEO of the Davis Chamber of Commerce.

Survey respondents overwhelmingly indicate that affordability is the most significant barrier to providing health insurance. Most small business owners would like to provide coverage. Those that can afford to do so feel increasingly undermined by rising costs; many doubt they will be able to provide coverage much longer.  Yet, most view the lack of access to affordable health insurance as a significant barrier to entrepreneurship. The majority see reform as necessary and important to getting the economy back on track.

Small businesses are key to our state’s and nation’s economic recovery.  But we cannot play this essential role in the face of double-digit increases in health care costs. Without meaningful health reform, small businesses, the foundation of our economy, will crumble.  We need to fix our health care system this year to ensure that small businesses have access to affordable, quality health care coverage for our employees,” said Betsy Burton, owner of King’s English Bookshop, a Salt Lake small business. 

 “Despite struggling with ever-rising burden of health care costs, Utah small business owners are not shirking their responsibility.  They feel a responsibility to provide healthcare for their employees and are willing to do their part in fixing our broken system,” said, John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. 

The survey findings include:

  • 79% of businesses paying for some or all of their employees health insurance agree that their business is really struggling to afford the cost of health coverage;
  • 74% agree that more people would become entrepreneurs and start businesses if they knew that they could get health insurance despite their pre-existing health conditions;
  • 80% support the proposal to establish a health insurance pool to create a marketplace where small businesses and individuals can choose their coverage;
  • 68% agree that the state and federal government must be partners in reforming the health system.

An copy of the report is available here.  It will be released publically on July 8th, and will be available at Small Business Majority’s website. 

Attendees at today’s press conference included:

For more information about the survey and its findings, please contact Erin Musgrave of Small Business Majority at 831-477-0453.  For stories from small business owners about their experiences getting or keeping quality, affordable health coverage in your community, contact Jessica Kendrick at Utah Health Policy Project, 801-433-2299 or

About the Survey Sponsors…

Small Business Majority is a national nonprofit advocacy organization focused on solving the single biggest problem facing America’s 27 million small businesses: the skyrocketing cost of providing healthcare to employees. Small Business Majority is run by small business owners, so we know the challenges entrepreneurs face and how critical affordable and accessible healthcare is to a small business owner’s success. We use nonpartisan scientific research to understand and represent the interests of all small businesses, from sole proprietors to 100-person companies.
The Utah Business Group on Health (UBGH), an emerging coalition of Utah business owners and associations dedicated to health reforms that will allow businesses to be competitive while offering affordable, quality benefits; it is hosted by the Utah Health Policy Project.