What Small Business Owners Say About the Affordable Care Act

Last week the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) took its case against the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court, filing a petition to have the law thrown out claiming the individual mandate clause, that requires that every person have health insurance, unconstitutional.

The NFIB’s concerns echo the concerns of many small business owners around the country, frustrated and fearful of the looming 2014 deadline for the Affordable Care Act. Here's what small business owners have to say about the NFIB's petition and their biggest concerns with health-care reform.

TOPS Software Clearwater, Fla.

TOPS has always paid 100% of the cost for a basic medical plan for all its employees, according to owner Jeff Hardy. However, health-care premium costs have continued to climb over the past 10 years, and they are now the third-highest monthly cost for the business, behind payroll and payroll taxes.

Hardy said the health-care reform’s requirement that small business owners provide health insurance for employees, without any way of lowering the cost, is a burden.

"One of the original promises of Obama's health-care reform was that it would lower the cost of medical insurance for employers. That has not materialized," he said.

"In fact, what did get passed in the health-care reform act was the requirement that businesses provide health-care coverage or be fined. So businesses [that] are struggling to stay above water in this poor economy are now further burdened by having to absorb the cost to provide health-care insurance for employees without any government plan or pools to lower the cost to a reasonable level."

Hardy said he supports the NFIB's appeal petition to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

"Employers can only afford to pay employee medical insurance premiums if the government establishes low-cost pools that include healthy, private individuals or other cost-containment measures that keep it affordable," he said. "Obama's health-care reform is too narrowly focused on providing health care to individuals without considering that most individuals work for an employer and that those employers will cut jobs if they are forced to pay this additional, significant expense for each employee."

Sally's Bakery Sandy Springs, Ga. 

Taylor Owings, co-founder of Sally's Bakery said his biggest concern with health-care reform is its lack of change.

"Having a gluten-free bakery, we hear stories almost every day from people who had gone from doctor to doctor trying to figure why they didn't feel good with unsuccessful outcomes," Owings said. "It's sad that in a nation with so many medical resources, most gluten-free individuals end up having to discover their food sensitivities or allergies through self diagnosis."

Owings knows this all too well, after seeing his mother go through the diagnostic process to determine why she was feeling so poorly. After he and his sister were diagnosed with a gluten allergy, they were inspired to start the bakery to cater others in their situation.

"Unfortunately today our traditional health-care delivery system overwhelming fails to address the underlying causes of patient illness. Instead, we're seeing incentives misaligned where prescription drugs and symptom management trump proven remedies like dietary changes, exercise routines, and stress reduction techniques," he said. "Even though we're faced with these big challenges, I'm optimistic because people now have great platforms to share information and I think we're going to see some really cool communication delivery models develop in the next few years from both individuals and businesses to address healthcare issues and promote wellbeing."