Businesses: "Obamacare" brings burden,uncertainty

By: Rob Hughes Email
By: Rob Hughes Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released its fifth quarterly small business survey recently. According to the survey conducted by Harris Interactive, only one in five small businesses expect to hire next year. As you dig deeper in the data and talk about the Affordable Healthcare Act, it only gets worse.

The Affordable Healthcare Act is forcing businesses nationwide to rethink planning and business strategy. "It's clearly impacted the business ever since it was passed," says Matt Collins, Chief Operating Officer with Lewis Engineering Inc. in Grand Junction. Lewis is like thousands of business executives feeling the pinch. "We get feedback from those that provide insurance to us; that they're raising rates in anticipation of increased costs due to this healthcare." Lewis engineering has 60 full-time employees. "Now with the recent Supreme Court ruling that it's a tax, we're just starting to see everyone positioning themselves to cover these increased costs, and it's just rolling downhill to small businesses," says Lewis. He does plan to hire next year, but is preparing for a new era. "In addition to the tax that the small business is going to have to pay through income tax and increased sales tax, and the litany of taxes that are in this program."

"The Affordable Healthcare Law has a lot of unknown impacts that will affect business," says Merritt Kinsey, President of Western Slope Industries, Inc. Kinsey has 63 full-time employees. "Most of the law seems to be focused on having those of us who carry health insurance pay even more than those who don't, so I think that's part of the problem we're facing," explains Kinsey. Kinsey isn't hiring next year, and isn't confident the law will help the private sector create jobs.
"I think it will create a lot of jobs in the government sector, but very few in private industry," he says.

Dan Roberts is the Chief Financial Officer with Mays Concrete Inc., a company of nearly 80 employees. Roberts says the company isn't hiring full-time employees next year, and the unknown variables are the hardest part to plan for. "We still don't really know what's coming down in the whole act yet; the things that our consultant tell us about will obviously have an impact on the plan that we offer right now," says Roberts.

The survey also reports following the Supreme Court's decision on President Obama's healthcare law, 72% of businesses say the healthcare law will make it harder for them to hire.

On a bright note, 68% of business owners say their sector is headed in the right direction.

For more on the survey, please copy and paste the following link into your browser.

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