While the NFIB represents the interest of small business owners around the country, there is deep division in the small business community between those who are in favor of the legislation and those who are against it.
Those who disagree say the unintended consequences of the regulations will cost them money — money that could be spent on purchasing new equipment, or hiring more workers. Those who support the plan expect to reap savings while providing employees with affordable healthcare.
Karen Harned, executive director of the NFIB’s Legal Center, says the fear that healthcare premiums will rise hangs over the heads of many small business owners.
“The goal of this legislation was to increase coverage and decrease cost,” she said. "Those were the key things Congress was talking about. But small businesses are already seeing health insurance costs go up because of the law. Small businesses are worried that if we don’t prevail [with overturning the legislation], what does that mean not only for their own business but their individual liberty as well?”
Harned said some NFIB members report increases of 20 percent to 40 percent in premiums since the act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the president. They are also getting cancellation notices. “One in eight of those who have 50 or fewer employees who offer health insurance are hearing from their insurers that their plan is being canceled or will be canceled within the next year. That is directly tied to the law. The healthcare law is really an albatross around their neck.”
But there are those who say that healthcare reform is in the best interest of small businesses.
"These policies are aimed at helping small businesses," said John Arensmeyer, CEO of the small business advocacy group, Small Business Majority. "The law, while certainly not perfect, includes a number of provisions that will help small businesses gain access to more affordable coverage, which makes their businesses more competitive and boosts their ability to create jobs and drive economic growth.”
Mike Roach, owner of Paloma Clothing in Portland, Ore, and a 36-year member of the NFIB, said he welcomes healthcare reform to help shoulder the costs of healthcare. "The costs have been crushing us. If nothing was done about healthcare costs, we’d either have to cut benefits or lay off some of our employees — neither of which we want to do. The fact of the matter is the new law has already started helping us. We'll likely get more than $7,000 back this year from the small business tax credits.”