What Small Businesses Owners Think About the Health Care Battle

Last week, after 11th-hour changes and a heafty round of vote whipping, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced that he was pulling the Republican health care bill set to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), saying they “came close” but did not have the votes needed to pass the bill. As you’re probably aware, finger-pointing and blame-shifting ensued from there, but the bottom line is that the ACA — often referred to as Obamacare — remains the law of the land. Furthermore Speaker Ryan says it will stay that way “for the foreseeable future.”  

While Democrats and others in opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA, as the Republican-backed bill was titled) cheered the development, The New York Times highlights a group less inclined to celebrate: small business owners. As the Times reports, recent surveys have found that 60% of small business owners were in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act. So what do some of these entrepreneurs think about the latest development — or lack thereof — in the health care battle?

First, some backstory. In addition to the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires citizens to maintain a health insurance policy or pay a fine, the bill also includes an employer mandate. This states that businesses with more than the equivalent of 50 full-time employees must offer group insurance benefits to any employee that works an average of 30 hours per week or more. Similar to the individual mandate, employers who fail to meet this requirement are forced to pay up to $2,000 per employee in fines.

For that reason, LaRonda Hunter told the Times she’s put off expanding her Fort Worth, Texas-based chain of hair salons beyond that 50 employee threshold. While she told the paper she was disappointed with the outcome of last week’s repeal efforts, she thought that entrepreneurs, like herself, that see the ACA as a burden would force Congress to address the issue sooner rather than later. However, like House Republicans, it seems that other entrepreneurs were mixed when it comes to the bill that was on the table.

In a poll conducted by Small Business Majority, 39% of owners said they strongly supported the ACA over the AHCA compared only 16% who strongly preferred the Republican replacement. That sentiment was also expressed by Tom McManu who first told the Times that the ACA had a significant impact on his bar supply company’s bottom line. He then added, “Obamacare made it worse, but I didn’t see anything in the new bill that would have made it any better. They need to focus on the real health care problem: cost.” Similar another business owner, Tav Gauss, said, “The rising costs have taken a toll on all of my investments in people and equipment,” estimating that he’s spent upwards of $80,000 on paperwork and other systems to meet compliance for the law.

What makes matters difficult is that, at the end of the day, it’s not just profits on the line but people’s health. To that end, you can find thousands of testimonies from patients that speculate they may have died or gone bankrupt if the ACA and its protections, such as requiring insurers to accept applicants with pre-existing conditions, hadn’t been in place. Because of this and many other complexities that come with health care — not even including the politics of it all — the fight seems far from over, leaving small business owners on the front lines once again.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

Other Articles by Jonathan Dyer

Nitra Latest FinTech to Join Visa's Fast Track Program

A spending insights platform built for healthcare professionals is getting a big boost by joining up with a major card company. This week, Nitra announced that it was the latest startup to join Visa's Fast Track program. As a result, the company will now have access to Visa's global payment network, VisaNet Nitra is a FinTech offering spending management tools for private practice physicians. With the platform, clients can issue...

Stripe Raises $6.5 Billion, Now Valued at $50 Billion 

FinTech giant Stripe has just closed a massive funding round, but is once again cutting its valuation. The online payments company has announced that it's just raised $6.5 billion. The Series I included participation from returning investors Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, MSD Partners, and Thrive Capital, while new investors GIC, Goldman Sachs Asset and Wealth Management, and Temasek also joined. Goldman Sachs served as sole placement...

Chase Reveals Q2 2023 5% Bonus Categories for Freedom Cards

One of the biggest perks of the popular Chase Freedom Flex card (and its predecessor the Chase Freedom card) is the ability to earn 5% cashback on categories that rotate each quarter. Currently, these categories include grocery stores, fitness clubs and gym memberships, and purchases at Target. Now, with the first quarter of the year drawing to an end, Chase has revealed its Q2 2023 bonus categories. From April 1st...