By Laurie Ehlbeck
Obamacare has been, to put it mildly, burdensome for small businesses in New Jersey. Soon, the Senate will have a chance to do something about it.
Year after year, when the National Federation of Independent Business surveys its members, they say their number one priority is healthcare, but the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has made things more difficult for them. Its onerous taxes and mandates have increased costs and reduced choices.
Repealing Obamacare shouldn’t be a partisan issue. The law has failed in its central promise, which is to make healthcare affordable. Premiums for small businesses have skyrocketed. The law forced the cancellation of insurance policies for millions of Americans who were happy with their plans. Insurance companies have abandoned the exchange marketplaces, leaving Americans in many parts of the country with one option or no options at all. Even former President Bill Clinton called Obamacare “the craziest thing in the world.” He said, “The people who are getting killed in this deal are small business people and individuals who make just a little too much to get any of these subsidies.”
That’s why NFIB New Jersey is calling on Senators Corey Booker and Bob Menendez to vote “yes” on the Senate plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
Small business has long supported repealing and replacing Obamacare. NFIB opposed the healthcare bill when it passed, and we challenged its constitutionality before the Supreme Court in NFIB v. Sebelius.
Not only does the law harm small businesses, it harms their employees. According to the federal government’s own research, small businesses’ health insurance costs increased and benefit flexibility decreased under Obamacare, resulting in 25 percent fewer small businesses offering health insurance within five years of the law’s enactment.
The Senate bill provides massive tax relief by eliminating or delaying 11 of the most burdensome Obamacare taxes, which are crushing small businesses and driving up costs. It also eliminates the punishing mandate penalties that discourage job creation, expansion, and investment.
This is a crucial moment for our senators. We hope they remember that small business employs most of the state’s private-sector workforce. It’s the backbone of our economy. Obamacare is a massive impediment to growth and new jobs, and this week our senators have a chance to enact change that will help small businesses.
Laurie Ehlbeck is state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, New Jersey’s leading small-business association.