EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSMALL BUSINESS IMPACT
from Eyewitness News Online
How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Small Businesses?
Reported by: Deborah Linz
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Deborah Linz
Reported: Jul. 17, 2012 2:39 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 17, 2012 4:13 PM EDT
Poca , Putnam County , West Virginia
With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Obama administration's "Affordable Care Act", many small businesses are concerned about the future. As Eyewitness News Anchor Deborah Linz tell us... the big worry is... uncertainty.
At Rock Branch Mechanical, a heating and cooling company in Putnam County, the owner pays 100-percent of his employees health premiums. Under the Affordable Care Act, beginning in 2014, all businesses with more than 50 employees must offer some form of health insurance. Rock branch CFO, Brett Haddix, worries how that mandate will impact his vendors.
"If they don't have the health care coverage like us, they may have to increase prices and pass that cost onto us. Ultimately, we may have to eat profits or pass that cost on somewhere down the road."
If small businesses don't comply with the new legislation, they may be fined $2,000 to $3,000 per employee every year.
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito says,
"My concern is they're going to find the penalty is less than offering insurance to employees, so they are going to drop employee health insurance, putting workers onto state exchange. What were seeing now, even in anticipation of the program is that premiums have gone up over $1,800 and small businesses are dropping plans because they are unaffordable."
But supporters of the landmark legislation say it could trigger lower health care costs for everyone. By requiring most Americans to have health insurance, the pool of insured healthy people would expand making the overall risk pool less risky.
Still the uncertainty is what is keeping many small businesses from hiring and expanding, not yet knowing future health care costs and other tax implications.
"If my owner if going to taxed into oblivion, what's the incentive to grow the company to be more profitable?"
A question many small businesses are pondering and one in which will only be answered in time.
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