What business owners are saying

I hope the Senate will have the courage to do what the House of Representatives didn’t, and listen to their constituency. While the ACA has its problems, they are problems that can be fixed. At least under the current law, access to healthcare is a right, rather than a privilege for a few.

-Sue McDonald, owner of MP Global Corporation in Niles, IL

The administration and some members of Congress are determined to undo as much of the Affordable Care Act as possible, despite the fact that it’s helping small business owners like me, our employees, and millions of Americans gain coverage. I enrolled my business through the SHOP marketplace earlier this year, but before that I purchased my insurance through a broker. SHOP made it easy to compare plans and find the best option for my business, and I’m now able to offer better health coverage to my employees at no additional cost compared to our previous plan. That’s why I’m frustrated by the administration’s proposal to end SHOP’s online enrollment feature, and feel that this move in addition to the efforts by Republican lawmakers to dismantle the ACA will ultimately hurt small businesses like mine.

-Bryan Gillum, owner of CMAX Advisors in Columbus, OH

As a new business owner, I recently was forced to go without insurance for some time, but before that I had a salaried job and health benefits. However, staying at that job was getting in the way of my dream of starting my own business. I knew the only way to open my coffee shop was to take the leap and quit, but that also meant leaving behind my health insurance. Thankfully, due to the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, I was able to gain coverage this year. But before I had to pay all of my medical costs out of pocket, which would have made it extremely difficult to keep my business going. Thanks to the ACA, people like me no longer have to choose between health insurance and pursuing their dreams.

-Kateri Gutierrez, owner of Collective Avenue Coffee in Lynwood, CA

My young business consults with treatment agencies for drug and alcohol addiction, and provides education on paying for these services through Medicaid. The expansion of the Medicaid program under the ACA has provided a whole new area of business opportunities for entrepreneurs like me. ACA repeal, or even a full rollback of Medicaid, would most likely result in the closure of my business, and will be a serious health issue for my clients who would lose access to essential mental health resources.

-Stephanie Farrell, owner of Left Hand Management in Brighton, CO

I would like lawmakers to know that making small business owners fight for and worry about their healthcare does nothing but create strain and reduce the productivity of entrepreneurship in America. With reasonable access to healthcare, small business growth and productivity have one less barrier to succeeding.

-Leslie Baer, owner of Energy Intersections in Denver, CO

Many lawmakers are ignoring the fact that the ACA isn’t just good for small business; it’s good for everyone. Lawmakers’ determination to push forward with a sub-par replacement plan is just plain wrong—for our country, for our small business community and for the countless entrepreneurs and employees who have gained coverage under the ACA.

-Betsy Burton, owner of King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, UT

Thanks to the affordable coverage I receive through Covered California, the state’s health marketplace, I have been able to reallocate funds normally spent on healthcare to invest in my growing business, Resilient Beauty Bar. However, my plans for expansion hinge on the future of the ACA, as I’m fearful that my inability to offer health insurance will make me less competitive when I’m able to begin hiring. If the law is repealed and my insurance once again becomes unaffordable and unobtainable, I will most likely risk going uninsured, and in a worst-case scenario, would have to shut down my business to find employer-sponsored coverage.

-Dee Naylor, owner of Resilient Beauty Bar in Fairfield, CA

I purchased quality, affordable insurance through Covered California for myself, my family and my employee. Without the subsidy offered by the ACA, however, there is no way I could fit this health insurance into my limited budget, and I wouldn’t have coverage at all. The ACA gives me the confidence to focus on growing my business instead of worrying about health care costs.

-Nick Ware, owner of Ware Agency, Farmers Insurance in Fresno, CA

As a lawyer, three-time cancer survivor and entrepreneur, the ACA has been crucial to helping me get the health coverage I need. But if the law is repealed, I can’t afford to bring on an employee in order to qualify for group coverage, since my business is so new. Therefore, I’ll have to find a business partner or re-enter the traditional workforce to gain coverage through an employer. Having to figure out how I will get insurance is just another source of stress for me on top of the pressures of owning a business. But fundamentally, I am a ‘survivor’ and know I will be okay.

-Maricar Tinio, owner of Mardavis Group, Inc. in Chicago, IL

I enrolled in my state’s marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado, in 2014, and from the first year to the second year of coverage, my premiums dropped by a whopping 71%. While I have since experienced a modest increase in premiums, my total annual out-of-pocket expense dropped more than $4,000. This insurance has been a lifeline for me, as I’ve had two costly injuries over the past three years and was recently diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Without the coverage I receive through Colorado’s health marketplace, there is no way I would be able to pay for my medication out of pocket. I would likely have to declare bankruptcy and be forced to shut down my business.

-Howard Paul, owner of Howard Paul Photography for Communication and Commerce in Denver, CO

Losing the affordable coverage options offered by the ACA will hinder the development of new small businesses, particularly those whose owners have preexisting conditions, like me. I want lawmakers to listen to real entrepreneurs about how the ACA has benefitted us, and consider the impacts that a repeal would have on businesses, employees and local economies. For me, it has been a lifeline and a tremendous relief to know that I won’t be bankrupted by the simple act of trying to obtain healthcare.

-Andrea Deutsch, owner of Spot’s-The Place for Paws in Narbeth, PA

Without the Affordable Care Act, ‘creative types’ like me will have to set aside our dreams to find more traditional employment because we can no longer afford independent coverage. Of course the law is not perfect, but it doesn’t make sense to dismantle a program that’s helping millions of people. Instead of creating chaos, lawmakers need to come together and strengthen the law.

-Karin McKie, owner of Tree Falls Productions in Chicago, IL

The Affordable Care Act allowed me to realize my dream of becoming a business owner while receiving the level of care required for my pre-existing condition, which would be impossible for me to pay for out of pocket. The ACA removed the fear many would-be entrepreneurs feel about losing their health coverage, so repealing it would discourage entrepreneurship. Repeal will send a ripple effect to small businesses everywhere, and they are the backbone of the American economy.

-Josh Lapp, co-owner of Designing Local in Columbus, OH

The affordable coverage that I receive through the individual exchange has allowed me to reallocate funds normally spent on healthcare to invest in my growing business, Designing Local. Thanks to the ACA, we’ve been able to hire two new employees, who also receive coverage through the exchange. In fact, Designing Local’s success has allowed my husband to quit his job to pursue his own dreams of becoming a business owner, which wouldn’t have been possible without the ACA. But if it’s repealed, one or both of our businesses will have to close so we can find employer-sponsored coverage. We’re just one example of how the ACA is promoting entrepreneurship and driving economic development in local communities and beyond.

-Amanda Golden, co-owner of Designing Local in Columbus, OH

Any small business owners who thinks ACA repeal will benefit them are in for a rude awakening. Repealing the ACA will hurt our workforce and cripple job growth. I currently offer insurance for Trolley Car Diner’s fulltime managers, but like many of those in the restaurant industry, I am simply unable to afford coverage for my approximately 80 hourly workers. I have not seen or heard of any better alternative to the ACA. Congress should try to improve the existing law, instead of starting from scratch and leaving millions of people uninsured.

-Ken Weinstein, owner of Trolley Car Diner in Philadelphia, PA

The peace of mind created by the ACA is a far cry from how things used to be. Before the law was enacted, some of my employees wondered if they would be able to get insurance at all because of pre-existing conditions or other issues, while those who could obtain coverage feared they would not be able to afford it thanks to skyrocketing premiums. There should never be a circumstance in which insurance does not cover one’s healthcare needs. Thanks to the ACA, that is much less of a concern for millions of people.

-Ron Nelsen, owner of Pioneer Overhead Door in Las Vegas, NV

Some may think that government regulations like the Affordable Care Act are holding small businesses back, but I’m here to tell you that’s wrong. I think most small business owners need some help to succeed, and entrepreneurs don’t necessarily have a preference for the source of that help. The ACA is helping us, and lawmakers should continue to let it work for all Americans.

-Mike Roach, co-owner of Paloma Clothing in Portland, OR

Before the ACA, our care was getting so expensive, it was a constant source of financial stress for us. We had hours of gut-wrenching number-crunching to figure out what we could do. When we were able to access the Affordable Care Act, we were able to purchase insurance that could support our needs and is usable by our staff. We were able to afford a deductible that made more sense.

-Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, MO

Instead of a full repeal of the ACA, let’s expand on what is already working and make improvements where they are needed. After all, the ACA is the first meaningful reform in decades that meets many of small businesses’ core needs in regard to rising healthcare costs. To keep the economy growing, we need policies that allow us to spend less on health premiums so we can keep more of our own profits to reinvest in our companies and create jobs. Repealing a law that works will accomplish none of those things.

-Mike Brey, owner of Hobby Works in Laurel, MD