Small business owners and advocates hoping for health-care reform were let down on Friday as the American Health Care Act, which sought to replace major components of the Affordable Care Act, was pulled from the floor of the House without a vote. Those who hoped for cost controls and an end to mandates emerged uncertain and disappointed.
Health-care costs rank as a top issue each year for small business owners, according to the conservative lobbying group National Federation of Independent Business, as does the ACA's mandate that companies with at least 50 full-time workers offer coverage or face penalties. And small business optimism has been steadily increasing since the November election, with analysts and advocates citing promises of health-care reform from President Trump as one of the key factors in a sunnier outlook.
But for business-owners like Satish Jindel, that optimism may soon fade.
Jindel owns SJ Consulting Group in Sewickley, Pa., and employs 18 U.S. workers. Although he doesn't have to offer insurance, he chooses to cover 100 percent of his employees' premiums. Doing so gives him a competitive advantage.
But after premiums increased more than 16 percent this year, he expected lawmakers and the Trump administration to begin the process of reining in costs.