Healthcare reform is a topic near to the heart of every U.S. citizen, and every citizen has an opinion. That includes small business owners.
Many, many articles have been written about what effect the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have on the small business community and most stories aren’t all that flattering to the legislation. In fact, the National Federation of Independent Businesses asked the Supreme Court to strike down the law altogether.
But what do small business owners think? Here are three who wanted to share.
As founder of Crankset Group, a business advisory firm in Denver, Colorado, Chuck Blakeman employs four full-timers and eight part-timers. He says the law’s biggest problem is its complicated nature.
“It is a moving target—no one knows what will come out of it and the story changes everyday,” he says.
One outcome already felt by Blakeman is an increase in insurance costs. Just eight weeks after the law was enacted, he received a call from his insurance company with some bad news.
“They told us our costs were going up 25 percent as a direct result of the law. The agent then told me that they would go up another 25 percent in the next six months,” says Blakeman. “I don’t know what this will end up costing us, but I just know it will cost us more—the insurance companies are just pushing through price increases while they can.”
As a result, Blakeman says he doesn’t plan to hire new employees any time soon.
“I was planning to hire a part-time administration person in August and then make them full-time in December, and a full-time IT person in February, but now I’m not going to do either. I really think this law is completely stalling the hiring process for small business owners—we don’t know what costs we will incur and to us, that is crippling,” he says.
Are there any positives of the new healthcare law?
He says, “The intention is good, but you can’t legislate good intentions. Government shouldn’t try to be compassionate, it doesn’t have it in its DNA.”
The new health care law is good for Ken Greenberg. As founder and president of Edge Communications, Inc., a technology public relations firm in Encino, California, he employs two full-timers and 20 freelancers and is looking forward to the coverage the law will provide his contractors come 2014.
“I think we will get perpetually better people because insurance will not be a factor. It will help with the talent because people won’t have to worry about staying in a job any longer and will have the ability to go out on their own,” he says.
What about Blakeman’s belief that the law will slow small business hiring?
“I think there are bigger economic and labor force issues—other than the health care law—that are having an effect on hiring such as the ability of credit and decreased consumer demand,” Greenberg says.
Bottom line: He thinks the old system is broken and needs to be fixed and that healthcare “is a right, not a privilege.”
“I do agree that there is a lot of uncertainty out there on how the law is being implemented, but we are still a ways off,” he says. “I do think it will help my business because the idea that everyone will be able to get insurance will definitely be good for my independent contractors—and those are the people I depend on.”
John Boyd is not happy with the new healthcare reform. As the Ridgefield, Connecticut-based founder of MeetingWave, an in-person networking company, and co-founder of vrfy.me, an online verification business, he, like Blakeman, thinks the law is a dizzying mess.
“There is so much uncertainty out there in the small business community—will our costs double in the next two years? What is going to happen? People don’t have time to understand 2,000 pages of regulations so they are relying on any source they have,” he says.
As a solopreneur, Boyd says he is weary of hiring partly because of the healthcare law.
“Working with contractors is my only alternative at this point because of all the complexities of hiring an employee and healthcare is just part of that,” he says. “I just really think the law is causing owners of small businesses—like me—to stay away from hiring until we can figure out what the law actually means.”
*Make sure to check out 5 Things To Know About Healthcare Reform