Local executives are more upbeat about containing health care costs than national counterparts, Deloitte survey finds

Mid-size companies in New England seem to be more optimistic about containing health care costs than their national counterparts, suggests a regional breakdown of a recent survey by Deloitte LLP.

Nationally, 60 percent of executives in the survey cited rising health care costs as a major obstacle to US growth, said Deloitte, which offers audit, financial, tax, and consulting services.

In New England, that number was 46 percent.

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One possible explanation: Local executives have had time to acclimate to a seven-year-old Massachusetts law that provides near universal health care coverage. Meanwhile, there is much more national uncertainty as the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is being phased in.

Deloitte commissioned a market research firm called OnResearch to conduct the survey earlier this year. The survey polled 525 senior executives at companies with annual revenues of between $50 million and $1 billion in annual revenues. Of that total, 39 executives are from New England.

“Executives continue to express a high degree of uncertainty about the economic outlook, with 59 percent of respondents ranking an uncertain outlook as the biggest obstacle to growth, compared to 50 percent in 2012,” Deloitte national managing partner Tom McGee said in a statement. “When asked to be more specific, respondents named government budget challenges, tax rates, and costs related to health care reform as the major obstacles to US economic growth. Clearly, uncertainty among business executives in the middle market emanates primarily from Washington and the policy issues they believe will affect their ability to plan strategically or make investment decisions in the future. This uncertainty is having an impact on the mid-market, especially in the area of investment, where more than 40 percent of companies are deferring major investments as a result of the current uncertain business environment.”

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