This week the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare,” but it looks like more passionate arguments about how the controversial healthcare reform is affecting businesses are taking place among small business owners on Main Street from coast to coast:
Mike Roach, the owner of Paloma Clothing in Portland, Ore., says health care reform has already helped his business’s bottom line — even though the law hasn’t been fully rolled out yet. The Affordable Care Act’s small business tax credit has shaved $5,500 off his company’s health-care premiums and allowed Roach to keep his workers on a good-quality plan even as costs rise.
Now, he looks forward to 2014, when a state-based exchange might allow him to negotiate even better rates.
“The new health care law has already started helping us,” Roach said. “Overturning it would send us back to the dark ages.”
But in Waco, Texas, the owner of an air-conditioning installation company, whose young employees tend to opt not to sign up for health plans, said he fears that the cost of providing adequate coverage under the law will increase his overhead and drive up the end-cost of his products.
“We’ll adjust our business model for that, and that drives whether or not we hire,” said Capstone Mechanical owner Rick Tullis.
This week, the National Federation of Independent Business, along with 26 states, will argue that the health reform law’s provision mandating that everyone obtain health insurance — whether through an employer or a state-based pool — is unconstitutional, and thus the entire law must be overturned.
While the group’s legal argument is against the individual mandate, NFIB senior executive counsel Beth Milito said she also thinks its requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees offer health insurance is fundamentally flawed.
“Our members just want the government to stay out of their business,” she said.
But Tullis and Roach are actually both members of the NFIB. As their organization prepares to dispute the legal aspects of health care reform, their differing opinions illustrate the fact that there’s little consensus among small businesses as to the law’s merits, and business owners’ projections as to whether the law will be a net gain or loss depend almost entirely on their individual circumstances.
Has Obamacare helped your business or is it crushing you? Tell us about it in our discussion forums!
- Obamacare: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
- Healthcare Reform: Small Businesses Employing Estimated 16.6 Million May Be Eligible For Health Insurance Tax Credits
- Healthcare Reform: Will Small Family Businesses Be Eligible for Health Insurance Tax Credits?
- Small Businesses: The Health Insurance Tax Credit Calculator
- Small Businesses Unaware of Health Insurance Tax Credit; Did You Claim the Tax Credit for 2010?