What Small Businesses Are Saying on the Second Birthday of ObamaCare

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Washington, Mar 23, 2012 | DJ Jordan, Wendy Knox (202.225.5821) | comments

Don’t expect any champagne corks to be popped anytime soon. American small business owners have been loud and clear about their displeasure with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the onslaught of employer mandates and taxes associated with it.

Our Committee has held three hearings on how PPACA is affecting small businesses. Here is what we heard:

Matt Tynan, Secretary and Treasurer of Tynan’s VW, Nissan, Kia in Aurora, Colo., said,“Instead of trying to do the best by our employees, it will become a simple math calculation. Is the fine less than providing coverage for our people? The same law that mandates we provide this coverage provides a loophole so we don’t have to? How does that make sense?”

Mark Rogers, President and Chief Operating Officer of Roaring Fork Restaurants in Castle Rock, Colo., said,“[T]he effects of the new law are anti-small business growth, by inadvertently discouraging many franchisees from owning and operating multiple locations, creating a competitive disadvantage for franchisees who do own more than one or two locations, and barriers to entrepreneurs who are looking to capitalize on the franchise business model to grow their business and hire more workers. The real irony here is that in the name of expanding health care coverage, Congress and the administration are making it more difficult for workers to enter and eventually be promoted in the workforce at a time when we need job growth.”

John W. Leevers, President of Leevers Supermarkets Inc., in Franktown, Colo., said,“[T]he Affordable Care Act has placed our small business between a ‘rock and a hard place.’ The ‘Shared Responsibility’ provision forces us to try and decide between two bad decisions. We can choose to continue the provision of health benefits and be saddled by unsustainable costs resulting from a mandated increase not only in the number of beneficiaries we must cover under our plans, but also the richness of the benefit we must offer. The alternative, discontinuing coverage, is equally problematic, and forces us to ignore time tested justifications for providing benefits that will result in severe employee relations issues. Thus, unless significant changes are made to the Affordable Care Act, it stands to do irreparable damage to many small businesses.”

Brian Vaughn, President of Nearly Famous, Inc. in Douglas, GA, said, “[O]ur plan has been to expand and open a new store by reinvesting some of our profits back into our business. Sadly though, given the harm the new health care law is going to reek on our business as well as the uncertainty and the pain caused by other regulations, I fear that neither of these dreams nor my plans to achieve them will be possible. In fact, my worry is that everything I have worked for will be for not and may be wiped out by this new health care law.”

William Dennis, Jr., Senior Research Fellow at the NFIB in Washington, DC, said, “By overwhelming margins, small employers who have some knowledge of the new law think that PPACA will not reduce the rate of health care (insurance) cost increases, will not reduce the administrative burden, will increase taxes, and will add to the federal deficit. They agree that PPACA will result in more people having health insurance coverage, but do not think it will yield a healthier American public.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum in Washington, DC, said, “The PPACA is a threat to the health of small businesses. Its heavy dosage of mandates and penalties will be a financial burden, and the law is riddled with hidden barriers to stronger job growth… Small business vitality is crucial to the economic fortunes of U.S. workers, and substantial new costs that curtail their hiring should be of concern to companies, workers, and policymakers alike.”

Gary Livengood, Principal of What a Stitch, LLC in Mt. Airy, MD, said, “I wish I could say that even better times are coming for What A Stitch but, unfortunately, the future still looks very uncertain. I know the intent of the new health law was to help business owners like me but, so far, I just don’t see it. The new law weighs heavily on my mind every time I think about hiring new employees or how our business may grow and change over the next few years.” 

Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute in Alexandria, VA, said, “This Washington-knows-best attitude that is guiding the creation of more than 10,000 pages of rules and regulations to implement the health law will continue to cause a cascade of lost coverage because it is ignoring market forces in favor of Washington rule-making.” Turner went on to say, “There will continue to be a need for licensed, trained professionals to help individuals, employers and employees with their health insurance needs. Yet in every state, as a direct result of the new law’s MLR provisions, agency owners are reporting that they are reducing services to their clients, cutting benefits, and eliminating jobs just to stay in business. In some instances, they are simply closing their doors.”

Mitchell West, Insurance Broker at HealthChoiceOne in Greenwood Village, CO, said, “[I] have to sell twice as many policies this year in order to earn the same amount as I did last year. This situation is not sustainable for much longer. I have, thus far, been able to hold on, but many thousands of other agents all across the country who are also working under these circumstances have become unemployed or underemployed, or have permanently left the industry… I simply cannot stay in business operating the way I used to.”  

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Tags: Health