Small-business owners had a chance on Wednesday to tell members of Congress what they think about Obamacare. And, for the most part, they aren’t pleased.
"As an employer with fewer than 50 employees, I was repeatedly assured the [Affordable Care Act] did not apply to me and that I would be able to keep my plan—that is simply not my experience," Drew Greenblatt, owner of Marlin Steel Wire in Baltimore, told the Democrat-led Senate Small Business Committee, according to WSB News Talk Radio. "I was startled, I was shocked, when our health insurance went up 49 percent this year.”
Other business owners echoed Greenblatt’s dismay at the big health insurance premium hikes they are experiencing under Obamacare. Sheila Salter, who runs a one-person marketing consulting firm in North Carolina, said her premiums will rise from $202 to $584 a month—a $4,584 annual cost increase. Obamacare, she says, is forcing her to pay for coverage of maternity care and pediatric services—things she won’t need as a 61-year-old. ““I have no history of alcohol or drug abuse... yet,” Salter said, according to The Washington Post. “But this is driving me to drink.”
Salter and others spoke about how the rules and higher costs of Obamacare were limiting their growth. They can’t afford to hire new employees due to their health care increases. Other business owners said they received cancellation notices and will now have to pass big cost increases on to their employees.
President Barack Obama tried to stem the tide of cancellation notices last week by announcing a “fix” that would allow insurers to let business owners keep non-compliant policies for another year. However, many state insurance regulators have announced that they aren’t allowing the fix in their states.
Paul Crowley, owner of InfinaDyne, a small software development firm in Davenport, Iowa, wrote the House Small Business Committee recently and said all of his employees received cancellation notices from Blue Cross Blue Shield about the company’s policy. The company’s premiums will likely skyrocket and Crowley will have to force his employees to cover far more of the costs. “I will have to cap my contribution and pass all extra burden on to the employee,” he said in his letter. “This will definitely hurt every one of them.”
While most business owners who spoke were against Obamacare—surprising, considering they were testifying to a Democrat-led committee—not everyone said they were against the law.
Connie Evans, president and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, which represents microbusinesses, said she has high hopes for federal health care reform and the public exchanges. However, she’s disappointed with how the program has been rolled out. “We just want it to work,” Evans said, according to WSB.
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