This week, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released “Election Research on Workplace Policy Issues Most Important to U.S. Workers.” The recent pre-election survey asked “working, registered voters which workplace policies they believed should be the focus of the next administration.” Not surprisingly, workplace health care was the most important issue.
As a new small business owner, I could not agree more. Obtaining accessible and affordable health care, where current doctors are “in network”, proved to be unnecessarily complicated and quite honestly, disappointing. The notable irony in this matter is, while Americans are encouraged to launch new businesses to boost economic growth and thereby, provided free programs and resources to get started, many struggle to obtain suitable health care. Add to this, pre-existing health conditions disqualify applicants almost immediately from gaining health care coverage. While the Affordable Care Act has its share of flaws, in most cases, it is the only option for business owners with prior health conditions.
What are the statistics of small businesses in the United States? Answering the call and fulfilling a dream to become a business owner, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. Such businesses provided employment to 59.9 million people or 47.3% of the private workforce. While these numbers are staggering (and impressive), providing health care for business owners and their employees is a formidable roadblock in the most powerful country in the world.
While small businesses largely contribute to the economic stability in the U.S., I share the sentiment of the surveyed participants as mentioned above. Workplace health care is certainly one of the most important issues of the next administration and . . . pre-existing conditions should be an acceptable qualifier for quality health care.