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Small Biz Matters

Welcome to Small Biz Matters, where IBJ discusses issues of interest to small-business owners and entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Associate Editor Andrea Davis.

Small Business

Kill health care reform, see hiring recovery?

June 23, 2011
KEYWORDS Small Business

Want to see small businesses hire more people? A court decision shooting down health care reform would go a long way.

That’s an educated guess from Barbara Quandt, who leads Indiana’s office of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Quandt quickly qualifies her statement by emphasizing small companies face other headwinds, including pricey gas. But the thing the main street crowd overwhelmingly fears is uncertainty associated with health care reform.

Problem is, she says, health care costs continue spiraling upward instead of downward, as was promised when the legislation passed. That throws a lot of water on hiring intentions.

“Small-business owners are just not optimistic right now,” she says.

An optimism index based on NFIB’s ongoing surveys shows the index in retreat after a brief comeback early this year. The index stood at 90.9 in May, a little higher than where it was last summer. That’s still better than the recession low point of 81 in March 2009.

Reform doesn’t necessarily need to go away to bring back optimism among some of the most optimistic among us, she says, but something—nearly anything—pointing to certainty would help.

What about you? Is she right?

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