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Survey Suggests Business Support For US Health Care Reform

Without reform, 86% of those polled believe that health care costs will continue to rise in the next five years

According to a survey of business leaders released by Business Forward, the rising health care costs are solely the biggest economic concern facing American businesses.

The survey reveals that nearly 90% of those polled cite health care costs as a major concern, more than cite taxes, government regulation, labor costs or energy costs.

Without reform, 86% of those polled believe that health care costs will continue to rise in the next five years, and 55% believe it will go up a lot. If costs continue to rise as expected, nearly 9 out of 10 business leaders expect to raise their employees’ deductibles and co-payments. Nearly 8 out of 10 expect to cut benefits and nearly one in three expects to lay off employees.

The poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research in advance of President Obama’s address to Congress, showed that 57% of business leaders believe health care reform should be an important government policy. They support key elements of a reform plan, including insurance exchange (78% favorable), efficiency reforms and an oversight commission (71%), requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions (79%) and a public health option (51%).

The survey also indicates that the surge in interest among business leaders during the 2008 campaigns is likely to continue and it could have a big impact on Washington.