Study: Small biz health costs have doubled under Obama

Healthcare costs for small businesses have doubled under President Obama, according to a new study.

The report from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) surveyed 780 small business owners and found that healthcare cost increases are preventing many companies from growing.

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The study found the cost of providing health insurance to employees has nearly doubled during the Obama administration. Currently, small businesses pay a monthly average of $1,121 per employee for health insurance premiums, up from $590 in 2009.

According to the study, 91 percent of small businesses saw their healthcare costs go up during their most recent renewal period.

A prominent House Republican pointed to the study as "further evidence" that ObamaCare is hurting small businesses.

"Surprisingly, there are some that deny the healthcare law is hurting the economy or small businesses, despite the mounting evidence of the law's ill effects," said Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the House Small Business Committee.

Despite the increases, the study also found that the number of small businesses that offer health insurance has ticked up to 70 percent, from 66 percent in 2009.

But 15 percent of the small businesses surveyed said they plan to drop health insurance coverage this year, rather than keep up with the rising prices.

These price increases have kept many small businesses from growing, the report argues. Two-thirds of the companies said they had less profit to put toward expanding their business, because of an increase in the cost of insurance.

Meanwhile, 34 percent of small businesses reported holding off hiring a new employee and 12 percent laid off an employee because of the rising costs of health insurance.

"The most troubling finding may be that one-third of small firms say they are purposefully not growing as a result of the law," Graves said. "With so many small businesses stuck in neutral, we shouldn't be surprised about the tepid growth of America's economy."