Business Owner to Congress: Health Care Law is a ‘Dream Killer’
Even with the Supreme Court having reached its decision to uphold President Obama’s health care law, small businesses are facing a climate of great uncertainty. The employer mandate included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires business owners to make tough decisions for which there are no good choices.
Mary Miller, CEO of JANCOA Janitorial Services, Inc., a 40-year-old family-owned business headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, called these decisions a “devil’s choice” in her July 10 testimony at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled Examining the Impact of ObamaCare on Job Creators and the Economy. [Miller did a video interview with us following her testimony. Check it out above.]
JANCOA offers its 320 full-time employees a limited-benefit plan and covers 85% of the premium. However, most of the employees elect not to enroll, choosing instead to take home more of their compensation in the form of wages. The employer and individual mandates scheduled to take effect in 2014 will eliminate choice.
We will no longer have the option of offering these types of plans, and our employees will no longer have the freedom to choose how to spend their wages. What is even worse, the law will force us to choose between several impossible options in order to remain in business and will jeopardize our ability to offer the types of jobs our employees value.
What are these “impossible options” facing Miller? Her company will either have to pay nearly $4,400 per employee for coverage that satisfies the mandate at a cost of nearly $1.4 million per year, stop offering coverage and pay $2,000 per full-time employee in penalties at a cost of $640,000, or transition its staff to part-time status in order to mitigate the penalties.
Miller says the health care law will negatively impact the company’s Dream Manager program, which, through one-on-one coaching sessions and group classes, encourages employees to identify their dreams and take steps to realize those dreams. Over the years, the Dream Manager program has been responsible for helping JANCOA employees buy a home, start their own small business, and earn a GED and/or college degree.
Unfortunately, however, the program is in jeopardy. Miller explains:
One of the few options that I am now forced to consider is reducing the majority of my team members to part-time employment in order to reduce the amount that I will be penalized. This, in effect, will put an end to our very successful Dream Manager program. Regrettably, for me and my employees, the new health care law is a dream killer.
Miller is not alone when she wonders why leaders would ever enact a law that enforces burdensome mandates that hinder job creation and discourage small businesses from expanding. A recent Gallup poll found that more people think the health care law will harm the economy rather than help it.