Small business owners criticize Obamacare roll out

More business owners are upset about the Affordable Care Act, now that the Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the small-business health care marketplace exchange will be delayed until 2015 because of “operational challenges.”

Employees of small businesses will still have access to insurance, but due to the delay they will be limited to one choice during the first year, rather than all the options promised under the full-fledged small-business exchange.

“We’re disappointed they chose to delay these particular features,”  John Arensmeyer, CEO of the Small Business Majority, a nonprofit advocacy group, said in a statement. “I think there’s a reason behind it, but it’s outweighed by tremendous benefits.”

Arensmeyer believes people will like Obamacare once they know what’s in it, but “[t]he problem is this is one of the things they like.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued that the announcement would have little to no effect on employers or workers.

“We believe that as employers assess whether or not to offer coverage to their employees, the more flexibility that they have in deciding how and what to offer, within the confines of the law, the more likely employers will continue to offer health care coverage,” a statement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.

Republican lawmakers have been arguing that the new health care law is bad for small business even before the delay was announced.

“If one of the key goals of supporters of the health care law was to provide small business owners with a competitive process by which they could select from a number of affordable health insurance plans for their employees, then that goal is not in sight,” Missouri Republican Rep. Sam Graves wrote in a March 27 letter to Marilyn Tavenner, who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Graves is chairman of the House Small Business Committee.

A new survey released by Thumbtack.com, a crowd-sourcing service website, in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation found that small businesses are having trouble acquiring health insurance.

“The ease of obtaining health insurance was an important factor for many businesses,” the survey finds. “One-third of small business owners rated obtaining and keeping health insurance as ‘Very Difficult,’ versus only 6 percent who rated it ‘Very Easy.’ ”

“Small businesses are top of mind for lawmakers nationwide, but too often their needs are more a matter of conjecture rather than actual evidence,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com.

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