SMALL BUSINESS: Fewer Firms Offer Health Insurance
"The economy may be booming, but the percentage of small firms offering health care coverage to their employees is shrinking and the ranks of uninsured workers continues to grow," the Los Angeles Times reports. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study concluded "that small businesses are the 'Achilles' heel' of America's employer-based health insurance system." Kaiser President Drew Altman said, "If small employers can't afford coverage for their workers in the best of times, what's going to happen when the economy turns around?" However, Kaiser is not "blaming small-business owners for the sorry state of worker health care," the Times reports, noting that the report shows "small business premiums are rising faster than those of large firms, and that entrepreneurs are scrambling to find less-costly alternatives before they drop coverage altogether." Altman said, "The vast majority of small business owners would love to provide their employees with health insurance coverage. They just can't afford it" (Dickerson, 3/24). The report is available on the Kaiser foundation's Web site at www.kff.org under the "health policy" icon.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.