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How Obamacare is Affecting Small Business Right Now

Date: March 17, 2014

As the healthcare law rolls out, small business owners need more guidance. Here's how NFIB is fighting for small business owners in 2014.

Many of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions affecting small business took effect on Jan. 1, including an expansion of the small business tax credit, which allows owners of firms with fewer than 25 employees to receive a credit for up to 50 percent of premium costs, an expansion from 35 percent in 2013. The health insurance tax also began, a measure estimated to increase insurance costs by as much as 2.5 percent, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

What didn’t take full effect: the law’s controversial employer mandate, delayed until 2016, and the automatic enrollment provision, which the administration delayed indefinitely pending guidance from the Department of Labor.

“Implementation has been a little rocky,” says Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB’s manager of legislative affairs. “It seems the healthcare website is getting closer to being on track, but many small business owners and employers have already been disrupted.”

Obamacare's rocky rollout is frustrating small businesses.

In a December letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, NFIB Senior Vice President for Public Policy Susan Eckerly expressed strong concerns about the healthcare law’s implementation and reprimanded the department for circumventing the regulatory process by announcing significant changes to the law in press conferences.

“Issuing formal multi-agency guidance on the above changes and future changes would more appropriately follow the regulatory process, provide the opportunity for stakeholder and public comments, and more thoroughly explain how each change impacts other aspects of the law,” Eckerly wrote.

Eckerly cited three hastily announced Obama administration back-steps or policy reversals, including a blog post that announced a one-year delay for online enrollment in the Small Business Health Options Program—or SHOP Exchange Marketplaces—a crucial component of Obamacare for small firms.

At press time, Kuhlman said NFIB had not received a response from Sebelius. He says NFIB will continue to present the administration with implementation concerns that arise in 2014, including holding the department to the official regulatory guidance process.

Kuhlman says the delay of the employer mandate and other provisions further complicate the process of small business compliance with the law.

“It’s really hard to keep up with all of these changes while you’re trying to focus on your business,” Kuhlman says.

You can aid NFIB’s efforts by sharing your small business’ story of compliance with Obamacare. Learn more at www.NFIB.com/HealthcareStories.

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