The Supreme Court's decisioncame as a surprise to many small businesses across the country. But let’s not confuse the issue as a constitutional matter. The court didn’t say that the law was good or bad, it ruled that the Affordable Care Act is, for all intents and purposes, a tax.
Let’s take the politics out of this (as politics just muddies the water) and recognize that what today’s ruling means is that taxes are going up – especially on those who create the most jobs.
At Greenleaf Book Group, the 40 person publishing company I started 15 years ago, we’ve seen our health insurance costs rise dramatically since the bill was enacted and expect it to continue in coming years. Whether we call this a tax or cost of doing business isn’t the point, the reality is that the bottom line is under increasing pressure.
After the shock wears off, we’re all going to have to show up to work and get back to the business of doing our jobs. So what will that look like for those of us on the front lines of the economy?
Hiring Will Slow: With the employer mandate hitting companies with more than 50 employees, we’ll see some small companies decide to outsource or replace employees rather than push for organic growth. While this won’t stop hiring, it will be yet another force slowing its growth. Look for many more part-time and 1099 employees and a general rise in unemployment.
Increase in Short-Term Uncertainty: Despite the supposed clarity of “any decision,” the political machines of both sides will ramp up rhetoric, negative ads, scare tactics and near-term inaction. This will cause more money to sit on the sideline until after the election in November.
Simplification of 2012 Campaigns: Both sides will be able to make this a single-issue race. The Democrats will argue for strengthening the law and an increased role of government. Republicans will argue for repeal and smaller government. The referendum on the direction our country takes will be huge this November.