Minority Businesses Support Health Care Reform Legislation, According to Survey

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According to a survey conducted by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC), 72 percent of certified minority businesses stated that they were supportive of the recently passed health care reform legislation. Small businesses in general are less likely to provide health insurance for themselves and their employees. The survey also found that 61 percent of certified MBEs provide health insurance for their employees and that 50 percent of these businesses paid premiums of at least $5,000 per employee. Sixty six percent (66%) of respondents reported that the high cost of health insurance has impacted their ability to attract high quality talent and the same percentage reported that the high cost of health insurance negatively impacted their competitiveness.

According to Carlton Oneal, Managing Parner at Light Speed, a certified MBE with GNEMSDC, "not being able to offer health insurance impacts our ability to attract top talent and be competitive with larger firms in the industry."

In a survey conducted of certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) last week by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) it was found that 72 percent of them were “generally in favor” of the legislation. Small businesses in general are less likely to provide health insurance for themselves and their employees. The survey also found that 61 percent of certified MBEs provide health insurance for their employees and that 50 percent of these businesses paid premiums of at least $5,000 per employee. Sixty six percent (66%) of respondents reported that the high cost of health insurance has impacted their ability to attract high quality talent and the same percentage reported that the high cost of health insurance negatively impacted their competitiveness.

Almost 90 percent of Certified MBEs who did not offer their employees health insurance relied on their spouses or significant others for health insurance coverage. This dependence on spousal insurance has led to what economists call "job lock". Job lock is generally bad for overall productivity because it tends to keep people in jobs because they fear the loss of insurance coverage, particularly for high risk groups or those with pre-existing conditions.

Fred McKinney, President and CEO of the GNEMSDC once served as a health economist in the Carter White House and taught health economics at the University of Connecticut stated that “MBEs could benefit from the recently passed legislation because of the tax credits that are targeted to small employers who offer their employees health coverage.” The legislation will provide up to a 50 percent credit for premiums for eligible employers. Some MBEs surveyed stated that they were unable to insure employees because of the high cost of insurance, and that this was a factor in keeping their businesses small.

The Greater New England Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) is a corporate membership organization whose mission is to promote business relationships between large corporations and certified minority businesses. The GNEMSDC has 250 corporate members, and over 500 certified MBEs who have combined annual sales of over $6 billion. The GNEMSDC covers all six New England states and has offices in Boston, MA and Hamden, CT. The GNEMSDC is the regional affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. The NMSDC is the leading minority business development organization in the country.

The survey of 75 certified MBEs was conducted over the weekend of March 26-March 29, 2010.

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