Impatient with the progress of national health care, some states have proceeded with their own reforms -- many of them models for various congressional proposals. More than three-quarters of respondents to an Ernst & Young survey of small and midsize businesses have taken steps -- including the stopgap measures of reducing benefits and increasing employee contributions -- to tame costs.

% of respondents who tried them
Cost-control initiatives in the year preceding the survey
Introducing a preferred-provider organization 39%
Increasing employee contributions 36%
Adding a health-maintenance organization 28%
Adding a flexible benefits program 26%
Reducing benefits coverage 21%
Introducing a point-of-service arrangement 4%
Reducing the number of HMO options 2%

No measures taken

18%
Source: "1994 Entrepreneur of the Year Institute Membership Survey," Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Services Group, Dallas, August 1994. * * *