Another falsehood repeated by opponents of the law is that it is putting a greater burden on small businesses. Again, the facts show that the opposite is true.

Small-business owners were struggling in the health insurance market long before the law passed, spending an average of 18 percent more than their large competitors annually for health coverage and often seeing their insurance bills skyrocket if a single employee got sick. The result was that the number of small businesses in the United States offering coverage to employees was falling rapidly — from nearly 70 percent in 2000 to less than 60 percent of employers by 2009 — leaving millions of working families without coverage.

Since the law passed, the share of small businesses offering employee coverage has held steady at 59 percent, the Kaiser Family Foundation has found, in part because new tax credits in the law are saving hundreds of thousands of small companies thousands of dollars each on their insurance costs. And independent experts such as Rand Corp. predict the number of employers offering coverage will rise in 2014 — just as it did in Massachusetts after health reform was passed — when small-business owners have the choice of shopping for health coverage in new competitive marketplaces.