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At our first hearing today on health care costs for small businesses, we heard from a number of business owners who talked about how increases affect themselves and their employees.

Cape Cod -- Richard Egan

Richard Egan (photo top left), who owns a physical therapy business, said premiums for families have more than doubled for him in two years. “They can literally make me bankrupt,” Egan said.

Debra Converse, the head of the Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce, said her 650 small business members have seen increases of 10 to 39 percent.

Many business owners (like Robert Saquet of Eggers Furniture in Middleboro, photo bottom left) said the rate of insurance increase have eliminated employee raises.

Cape Cod -- Robert Saquet

Gregory Stone, owner of the Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis, said he still pays 80 percent of his employees’ insurance, but has been unable to give them raises for five years.

These are the kinds of issues we have heard on occasion from small business owners, and today’s hearing shows that Governor Patrick is right when he says reform is needed now.

We look forward to receiving more testimony this week. If you are unable to attend, please send written comments to smallgrouprate@state.ma.us.

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