Are you as tired as we are of the endless wrangling the U.S. House of Representatives to amend, delay or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka “ObamaCare?” Regardless of where you stand, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (its formal name) has been law since March 2010. And today (October 1) marks a milestone: The health insurance marketplace is open: Individuals and businesses can start shopping for healthcare coverage if they don’t already have it.
We’re not healthcare or insurance experts, and we certainly don’t pretend to be able to cut through all the spin, emotion and misinformation that’s swirling around Obamacare. But today we’ve tried to locate some unbiased information, to at least point you in the direction of some facts, so you can draw your own conclusions.
A little background: ACA was passed with the intention of achieving some lofty goals. Among them were providing uninsured Americans access to affordable health insurance; doing away with pre-existing conditions as a reason to be denied healthcare coverage; and trying to rein in rapidly escalating healthcare costs. The law was also intended to take some of the burden for providing healthcare coverage off employers. There are all kinds of moving parts to Obamacare—tax credits, subsidies, insurance exchanges—but also mandates, lots of reporting requirements and fines for non-compliance, both for individuals and businesses.
There are pros and cons to ACA, no matter how you look at it. And, in fact, everyone, from the President to Congress to business owners to individuals, agrees that ACA is not perfect: There are kinks that need to be worked out and revisions that need to be made along the way. In the meantime, one of the most pressing issues is a lack of understanding on what ACA actually is, what it means and what actions businesses (in this case) need to take. So we would encourage business owners to learn as much as possible about it. Here are some sources for information:
ObamaCare Small Business Facts
Start here for some basic information. Granted, ObamaCare critics are arguing many of these points, but again—business owners owe it to themselves and their employees to read as much as they can and draw conclusions. This site addresses some of the most common complaints and misconceptions directly, like positive and negative impacts to small businesses, and tax credits and subsidies to help offset insurance costs. The bullet-point summary is also helpful as a quick snapshot of the important points.
How ObamaCare affects businesses – large and small
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/how-obamacare-affects-businesses-large-and-small-97460.html Politico.com has been publishing a series on understanding Obamacare, a comprehensive guide to help business readers cut through to the facts. There is an excerpt today—How ObamaCare Affects Businesses Large and Small—but there are also links to the entire series and guide.
Healthcare Reform FAQ
The Small Business Majority is an advocacy group founded and run by small businesses to address/solve key issues faced by small businesses with employees and solo businesses. Click on the link above for its FAQs on tax credits, insurance exchanges and more.
Of course, you won’t have any trouble finding every conceivable viewpoint, including passionate opponents of the law. Here’s just one of thousands: An op-ed on forbes.com that claims the Obamacare reality for small businesses bites. But you might also want to check out this analysis at cnn.money.com (http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/21/smallbusiness/obamacare/index.html).