Acadiana Business

Poll says La. small businesses support health exchange

by Heather Miller

A majority of small business owners surveyed in Louisiana say they would consider finding health care options for their employees through a state-run health care exchange, a key provision of Obamacare that Gov. Bobby Jindal has balked. Six out of every 10 business owners surveyed in Louisiana say they support the creation of a state-run health care exchange to increase options for insuring employees and pool purchasing power through a virtual health insurance hub.

The Small Business Majority, an advocacy group for small businesses, has released the results of a survey of small businesses in Louisiana that gauges opinions on the federal Affordable Care Act, the legality of which is currently being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of the business owners polled (those with 100 or fewer employees), 58 percent responded that they would consider using a state-run health care exchange for finding health care coverage for their employees:
One of the law's crucial components, which has tremendous small business support, is the health insurance exchange-an online marketplace where small business owners will be able to pool their buying power when they purchase coverage. By a 6:1 ratio, owners say they would use their state exchange or at least consider using it, compared to those who say they would not consider using it when they provide benefits. The majority of entrepreneurs find specific features of the exchange very appealing, and 6 in 10 support Louisiana applying for federal funds to set one up.

Despite the fact that Louisiana Republicans outnumbered Democrats in this poll by more than 2:1, business owners' opinions are split down the middle on whether the Affordable Care Act should be upheld by the Supreme Court: 44% would like to see it upheld with, at most, only minor changes and the same number would like to see it repealed. However, once Louisiana small business owners learn more about the Affordable Care Act, a 47% plurality support keeping it intact-either as is or with minor changes - while the desire for the law to be stricken falls to 40%.
State-run health care exchanges are a key provision of the federal health care law, and Louisiana is one of only a few states in the country that hasn't yet agreed to establish the online health care resource on its own before the feds step in. Gov. Bobby Jindal and his Health Secretary Bruce Greenstein are adamantly opposed to the idea. Read more on health care exchanges and what it means for Louisiana here.

Read the full report from the Small Business Majority here.