A New Worry for 2009: It's Not Health Care

It’s rare when the cost of health care doesn’t top a list of small-business concerns.

These days, however, it’s the faltering economy that’s got business owners the most worried, according to a survey by the National Association for the Self-Employed. When asked “what will be the top issue facing your business in 2009?” nearly 40% of NASE members listed the financial meltdown, roughly double the number who said the cost of healthcare. That’s a shift from NASE’s surveys for 2006, 2007, and 2008, when most business owners ranked health care affordability as their No. 1 concern. Given that options for health care coverage haven’t changed dramatically in recent memory, it appears one major worry has merely usurped the place of another.

The NASE says it polled about 600 of its members (who typically have 10 or fewer employees) ahead of the upcoming elections to make sure policymakers are aware of difficulties faced by small business owners. Whether policymakers will listen is another story. The majority of NASE members polled — about 9 in 10 — said they don’t feel their needs are being represented or protected in Washington, D.C.

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