2014-01-10 / Editorial/Opinion

Obamacare Small Business Nightmare

By Sanford Bernstein

I’m a small business owner. Not the $250k a year one like Joe the Plumber but one considerately more modest and a lot more common. I’m also a Democrat. I believe in universal health care and a single payer system... and I hate Obamacare. Like most Americans I have spent my life, for the most part, only marginally affected by anything the government actually does. Not anymore. I like Obama but he sold out the small business community for a handful of insurance policies. I wonder if he had any idea of what he was doing. When he campaigned for president and said he wanted to be the dumbest guy in the room I didn’t think he really meant it. When he compromised on universal health care to gain the support of the health insurance companies the insurers must have been hyperventilating on their amazing good fortune. In exchange for silence, the government guaranteed an entire new generation of customers and a rising tide of premiums.

Now, small businesses are dealing with the fallout and being tossed about in the breakers. My small business provides a basic HMO health plan (from EmblemHealth) for my employees. HMOs have primary physicians from which you have to get a referral to see a specialist. Employees can also choose a considerably pricier EPO plan but they have to contribute to make up the difference. EPOs allow you to see specialists without the referral. I renew the insurance annually in June and thought we would be fine until next June when we would have to deal with whatever the new landscape offered. After all, the President promised that if I liked my health care plan I could keep it. Needless to say, Emblem cancelled our coverage on December 31st and graciously offered an HMO plan at the EPO price (with higher copays and costlier hospitalization). So much for competition in the health care marketplace. Oh, and by the way, the network is a lot smaller so the insurer can control the costs more effectively by limiting access to providers, thereby forcing you into higher priced plans to see the same doctors you were seeing before.

Of course, they now have a whole new range of confusing plans with “deductibles” in the $600-$4000 range. Real good premiums but who’s going to see a doctor if you have to pay the deductible before the insurance kicks in. We believe health care is part of the social contract, so we don’t want to be economically forced to give up providing the benefit. I wonder who the people are that Obamacare is going to help. Not my business, not my family, not my employees and probably not you.

Sanford Bernstein is the General Manager and partner in The Wave newspaper.

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Have you conferred with

Have you conferred with someone who has actually read the law? That would be worthwhile as it is in your employee's interest. So far *EVERY* claimed "Obamacare nightmare" story has been disproven. Most small businessmen whine about any expense, regardless of their claimed political affiliations. I'm calling BS until I see the numbers. Christopher Platt

Mr. Bernstein, you got what

Mr. Bernstein, you got what you voted for. This was, for Dems, the greatest thing since sliced bread. What the Dems fail to realize is that America is a business. To run a business you need a businessman not a politician that will make you feel good. I did not like Romney as the republican choice, but, he knew how to run a business. The dems were all beating him down for buying up businesses and cutting out the bad parts and all they would talk about is the people that were put out of work. Well what about all of the people that were able to keep their jobs. Not everyone is going to do well. Hell there are a bunch who do not want to do well as long as there is a free ride and dems are handing out free Disneyland passes at every turn. But I digress. The republicans wanted to be able to sell insurance across state lines. This would have flooded the market with plans that wold have been cost effective and accepted across the country. This was shot down before it could get started. Wait until little Pauly visits grandma in Florida and needs some stitches. Oops out of network full payment required please. I read the Wave and find out what is in it before i say it is full of good things that everyone has to have. Start thinking with your heads and not your hearts. Oh by the way. We will not starve the children, freeze grandma, or lock up the schools. Republicans will just be efficient about it. What is the worse that could happen, could it be we pass a health care plan that nobody wants or can use?

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