Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Sunday, 12.09.2018
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7
 8  9  10  11  12  13  14
 15  16  17  18  19  20  21
 22  23  24  25  26  27  28
 29  30  31
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local

Members Of

Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (0 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

Oct 13,2006
Report: Central Oregon Small Business Owners, Workers Suffer from Health Care Gap
by Bend Weekly News Sources

Central Oregon workers suffer from a health care gap because their employers cannot find affordable health insurance, according to a new report released by the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations (NWFCO), Oregon Action and Central Oregon Jobs with Justice.

The new study, "2006 Northwest Health Gap Study: Quality Health Insurance Out of Reach for Small Businesses," stresses that small businesses struggle more than larger businesses when it comes to offering health insurance benefits to employees.

The study, co-authored by NWFCO and Aaron Katz of the University of Washington School of Public Health, surveyed 388 small businesses in the Pacific Northwest, including businesses in Ashland, Central Point, La Grande, Medford, and Portland.

Oregon survey results show that:

§         Fifty percent of Oregon small business owners surveyed for the study said it is too expensive to provide health insurance that meets their employees' needs.

§         Eighty-seven percent of small business owners said they were forced to increase their employees' out-of-pocket costs to cover the rising cost of premiums.

§         Seventy Eight percent said they preferred state-subsidized, comprehensive coverage over less expensive policies with less than comprehensive benefits for their employees.

Rhonda Ealy, co-owner of Strictly Organic Coffee with Richard Steffensen, says that rising health care costs make it hard for small business owners in Bend.

"We recently expanded our business and now provide health insurance for 10 employees," says Ealy. "Health care costs are a huge part of our overall business expenses and they get more expensive every year. As employers we feel it is our responsibility to provide affordable, accessible health care. We all deserve health care."

"Right now," Ealy said, we have to choose between doing some things that could improve other segments of our business or providing insurance. With support from state or local government, we could do both. We would welcome support that provides health care to Strictly Organic employees because they help to make Bend work every day."

"Small businesses are an important segment of the Central Oregon economy," said Michael Funke, organizer for Central Oregon Jobs with Justice. "Small business owners and employees need help from state and local government so they can survive, prosper, and compete on a level playing field with big business. There are examples of successful government-business-worker health care partnerships around the country."

"We need a health insurance system that covers the services people need at a price they can afford," said Bev DeLeonardis, Chair of Oregon Action's Health Care Committee. "Nobody should go without health care or have to rely on substandard insurance just because they have a lower income or work for a small business."

The health gap study recommends several options for government, including:

§         Creating opportunities for shared responsibility for quality health insurance, such as pooled purchasing by government, business and employees.

§         Increasing access to public health insurance programs.

§         Increasing oversight and transparency in private health insurance markets.

"Closing the health gap--and ensuring access to care for all residents of Oregon--should be a high priority for the state's policy makers," says the health gap study. "Small businesses in Oregon want quality health insurance at an affordable price. Small businesspeople do not believe that increasing choice among less expensive, less-than-comprehensive plans will meet their health care needs. They acknowledge that quality counts, and overwhelmingly prefer public solutions that put affordable, comprehensive coverage in their hands and the hands of their employees."

The "2006 Northwest Health Gap Study: Quality Health Insurance Out of Reach for Small Businesses" is available at www.nwfco.org, the website of the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations.

NWFCO is a regional federation of four statewide community-based social and economic justice organizations in the Pacific Northwest, including Oregon Action. Central Oregon Jobs with Justice is a labor-community coalition of 250 individuals and 19 organizations working together for workers rights and economic justice.

7159 times read

Related news
Time has come to address soaring health care costs by Michael_Kinsman posted on Jun 29,2007

Oregon House approves expansion of prescription drug pool by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Apr 04,2007

Most Deschutes County Jobs Don't Pay a Living Wage by Bend Weekly News Sources posted on Sep 21,2006

Living wage jobs scarce in Central Oregon by Bend Weekly News Sources posted on Feb 06,2007

Changing the Wal-Mart way by the St. Louis Post Dispatch posted on Nov 16,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 152 votes)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum


Deschutes County

  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?