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NATIONAL HEALTH CARE PLAN MAY OFFER ECONOMY MORE PAIN THAN GAIN, SAYS SURVEY OF MIDWEST BUSINESSES BY SOCIETY BANK

 CLEVELAND, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Health Care plan is a bitter pill to swallow for an overwhelming majority of midwest businesses, according to a recent survey conducted by Society Bank.
 Of the 594 respondents to the survey, an overwhelming 90 percent reject the notion of national health care reform as good for their companies. "The undeniable conclusion of our findings is that the uncertainty over health system reform has been and will continue to be a drag on the economy," explains Kenneth T. Mayland, Ph.D., chief economist at Society.
 Survey results are published in the fall issue of the Regional Review, a publication produced by Society's Economic Division. The fall issue focused on the proposed national health care reform plan, and its anticipated impact on Midwest businesses. Approximately 1,200 business owners in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana were polled.
 According to the survey, if the American Health Security Act is approved in its present form, nearly 85 percent of the business owners revealed they would not likely absorb anticipated add-on payroll tax/premiums increases above what they already pay. Instead, they expect to pass on additional costs. Almost 80 percent indicated that they would pass extra costs on to consumers, more than 65 percent expected to reduce existing wages or other benefits proportionately with any increases in payroll tax/premium increases, and 45 percent would reduce employment.
 "Clearly, the manner in which business owners plan to deal with expected increases in premiums will greatly affect the economy, one way or the other, in the form of increased costs for products or in employment," points out Mayland. However, one of the most interesting findings of this survey concerns the impact the anticipation of health system reform is currently exerting on business." While nearly three quarters of the respondents admit they haven't yet allowed impending passage of the reform to affect their hiring practices today, more than half (53.6 percent) reveal that it will reduce future hiring.
 "This uncertainty is paralyzing decisions for future development of businesses throughout the midwest," concludes Mayland.
 "Overall, it is not surprising that respondents to the survey, along with other business groups, fear and largely oppose a radical restructuring of the manner in which health care services are provided and paid for," Mayland adds. "The results and comments submitted reveal a view by business that the proposed restructuring will come at the expense of lost business, reduced health care quality and ultimately, higher healthcare expenditures." More than half of the respondents, 52.6 percent, in fact, believe that healthcare costs will increase faster with adoption of a national healthcare plan.
 In the general economic portion of the survey, 31 percent of the business owners expect some improvement in business conditions over the next four months, while 17 percent expect a deterioration. This is a more pessimistic outlook from the last survey in April, when 46 percent of the responding business owners expected improved conditions and only eight percent anticipated worsening.
 -0- 10/12/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Copies of the complete Regional Review are available to editors and reporters by calling contact. Dr. Mayland is also available for individual interviews by calling 216-689-3052./
 /CONTACT: Lucas Del Valle, corporate communications, of Society Bank, 216-689-3647/
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CO: Society Bank ST: Ohio IN: FIN SU:

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Date:Oct 12, 1993
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