What Small Business Owners Are Saying About The President's Health Care Law Three Years After Passage

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Washington, Mar 5, 2013 | comments

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While the President campaigned in 2008 on lowering health care premiums by $2,500 for the typical American family by the end of his first term, the cost of premiums have continued to rise. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health care premiums have risen by $3,162 for health care plans offered by small businesses. 

Rising health care costs continue to burden small businesses. Gallup reports that 73% of small business owners believe that rising health care costs are hurting their business. Three years after being signed into law, small business owners shared how the health care law is affecting their plans for the future through the Committee’s interactive website, “Small Biz Open Mic.” 


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As a Texas owner of a small business starting in 2006 we have grown to over 120+/- employees depending on the season and projects. The Affordable Healthcare Act is certainly not affordable for us as a small business in America. I do understand what President Obama is trying to do however I do not believe this is the correct answer. And there may not be just one answer. This has caused our company to examine our projects and reduce our employee numbers by eliminating the labor intense projects. Therefore, causing a higher unemployment rate to our nation. All this to avoid Mandated Healthcare by the federal government. So we slow and or reduce our company growth to avoid complete closure of the company. Neither of these are a good solution for small business in America. This will not bring in more revenue but can only reduce revenue. I see this forcing out the small business sector and increasing the large business sector of our nation.

Marsha Newberry (Grand Prairie, TX) Signature Contracting Services LLC 3/1/2013

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The Affordable Health Care Act is a misnomer-- it is unaffordable. The Act has increased my taxes and made my small company less profitable. I have been advised by my healthcare insurance provider that premiums are increasing significantly this year. These increased costs cannot be absorbed by all small businesses and many will lay off employees or go out of business. Our company is looking at reducing its workforce in order to remain viable. 

Jeff Edwards (Chesterfield, MO) AvSafe, LLC 3/4/2013

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We are a small business and although we do not fall under the mandatory health care act for companies 50 or larger, we still must compete for employees. This forces us to be competitive in wages and benefits, driving our costs up. This is a very slippery slope as we do not have the financial backing or economies of scale that large companies enjoy. Many times we have dipped into our personal savings and retirement accounts to make payroll. We have paid taxes on this money once already and when we try to put it back we are paying again! We do not have the resources to fight regulations and many times have to succumb to over aggressive agencies and officials. Often spending dollars for things we do not have to comply with, but is less expensive just to do what they want than to fight it. 

Gary Bergeron (Bolton, CT) Connecticut Trailers, Inc 3/2/2013

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We eliminated six jobs within the company, and we will continue downsizing. We will outsource the functions previously done in house in order to stay afloat. We have no budget for this damage. If that doesn't keep us afloat, we will close our business down by September 30 this year. Eleven more people out of jobs.

Cynthia P (Reno, NV)  3/1/2013

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My wife and I own our business and the Obama health care plan seemed to be a good idea at first. The problem is none of the options offered help the sole proprietor of a business. Now that his health plan will become law in January of 2014, we can no longer afford health care at all. Now with the idea of no one can be denied health care for pre-existing conditions, the insurance companies will accept you if you can afford it. Meaning now my insurance premiums will increase to about 2,000 dollars per month. I do not know many businesses which can afford this payment option. If Mr. Obama thinks that his option is so great, then why is his family or the families of the House and Senate in the same health care as I and my wife are forced to have. Now that we cannot afford the payment, we are forced to pay a 2,000 dollar fine for not having insurance. Sounds like another tax we "the middle class" will have the burden to pay. Thanks Mr. President!

David Harvey (Bumpass, VA) Planet Protection Services 3/1/2013

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I am a small business owner in Chico, California. I have been forced to cut back on employees, reduce pay, reduce benefits, and I had to cancel the health insurance I had in place for years. We could not stay in business with all the new costs dumped on us by the government over the last four years. I am scared to death over the next four years. I have been forced to look outside the country for customers because the local businesses I have always dealt with here in Northern California are almost gone. Regulations have put the independent loggers out of business and regulations have closed 90% of the sawmill operations and we are in the heavy equipment business and used to support the needs of sawmills and loggers. Now I am finding myself dealing with the governments of third world countries in Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Russia. My overhead has skyrocketed and the costs to stay in business are practically not worth it. Please make it easier for small business to survive. Maybe even prosper?

Lee Hamre (Chico, CA) AmeraMex International, Inc. 3/1/2013

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It's difficult to tell to what extent our business will be affected, particularly in reference to the Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit and Standards Relating to Essential Health Benefits. Although Obama has said these will not affect companies under 50, neither of these specifically speak to a company size. When we first started our business in 1997 we decided we wanted to share our success with our employees by paying above average market wages, contributing 10% yearly to a SEP for each employee, providing generous vacation and sick leave packages, tuition assistance, and providing health care up to a dollar amount per month (thus far almost every employee's heath care has been covered 100% by AvSafe.) The cost of these benefits continues to increase (consuming 80% of the increase in profits this year). We have been able to keep the cost of health care down by allowing employees to select a policy and health care provider of their choosing and reimbursing that cost. This saves considerable dollars for employees because they are able to select the plans right for them rather than a group plan policies. Group policies are required to provide things such as maternity which an employee may not need. In every case the individual policies have been more cost effective than the group policy. If we are required to change from our current practice to a group plan it will cost both AvSafe and the employee more. 

Shelby Edwards (St. Louis, MO) AvSafe LLC 3/4/2013

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As a small business owner in this business environment I have found myself trying to answer a difficult question. When you can forecast with some certainty that the increased cost of taxes and compliance with ever increasing regulation will break your business, do you close the doors now and take home your operation capitol or wait unti you are broke and close with nothing? I have eight employees and have a middle class payroll. We make prosthetics and have been rehabilitating people for thirteen years. Dave King, Orthopro Inc.

Dave King (Reno, NV) Orthopro 3/2/2013

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Congressman Graves, I am a co-owner of a small services business supporting the Department of Defense and global supply chain visibility solutions. Everyday our small team of highly qualified subject matter experts are making the DoD processes for shipping equipment and materiel more efficient. Although the healthcare bill may not hit us directly until FY14, the unfair provisions of the bill levied based on size and payroll of companies is the most egregious and anti-American, anti-free market legislation I have ever seen. The country will clearly be forced into economic decline where no one will prosper. Our plan is presently to hold back on growth, preserve capital and if the cost benefit of providing healthcare under the new law is not positive for us, determine whether to shut our doors. The American dream isn't worth the hassle of the paperwork, and government intrusion that comes with the healthcare law. I'm 60 years old and for the first time in my adult life, I see my government intentionally defiling the Constitution.

Fred Naigle (Clifton, VA) LCRS, Inc. 3/2/2013

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I own a small business along with 2 other family members. The business is 5 years old. Three years ago, at the beginning of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we began health insurance coverage for our 6 employees. Over the past three years our insurance cost has risen 40%. I am sure we're typical. How come there's relatively little media coverage re: the promise of lower premiums that has actually become large and unaffordable increases in premiums. The premiums will just grow larger I am sure as all the hidden cost of the gov't plan are revealed. Unfortunately, we will need to pass more and more of the premium cost on to the employees, which they can't afford, or eliminate coverage entirely. It is a misnomer to call it the affordable care act - very discouraging.

Paul Stanley (Mount Pleasant, SC) Trimed Services, LLC 3/1/2013

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Recognizing the importance of entrepreneurs’ feedback in the process of shaping the very policies that will help determine their business sustainability and growth, Chairman Graves launched Small Biz Open Mic in September of 2011.

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