Sunday, August 18, 2013

Obamacare - The Impacts on Businesses of All Sizes

This past week I attended and presented at a function for small business owners. After the convention, I joined some of the attendees at the reception for a round table discussion on business strategies as we head into the 4th quarter of 2013 and plans for the upcoming year. At some point during those discussions, the subject turned to the looming Obamacare roll out and mandate. There is no shortage of reports in the media on how this health care act will be a blow to the employment rate as business owners are faced with additional expenses and overhead, but I was surprised to learn that of the ten of us sitting at the table, that eight are already strategizing how to offset their own personal budget when the mandate to secure health insurance is imposed.

As a husband and father of two children, our family plan is intact and insurance has long been an expense that we face each month. However, for many small business owners, the Obamacare act will force them to go out and secure coverage for themselves, or face the financial penalties of not doing so. Prior to becoming married and when I was first starting out on the path of self-employment I rolled the dice on my health care. When I was sick I would use over the counter methods to get myself up and running and in the rare event that I had to visit a doctor or hospital, those expenses were paid. The monthly cost of insurance coverage was simply not something that I could get into my budget at the time. That remains true for many small business owners who are just starting out or grasping at straws to keep their business afloat.

So back to the discussion. One said he is going to be shutting down his cable and home phone service to cover the cost of medical insurance. Another said she will be eliminating the family dinner out every Friday night. A few said they will be taking services that they have been outsourcing to American firms and contracting the work to firms overseas while a few are talking about the need to layoff an employee or two.

So this small discussion that took place on a Wednesday night in Atlanta between ten individuals was a quick glance into a crystal ball that will impact small to large companies growth. From the local restaurant and contracted services firms to the large cable providers right down to an almost certain spike in unemployment. Regardless of your industry or company size you are sure to see a ripple effect in your own day to day operations. I am not saying that Obamacare is a bad idea, nor am I attempting to get political. What I am saying is that there was a 100% agreement that personal and corporate funds will be shifted to offset the financial impact of the health care act. I do not think the world is going to collapse or the country will be spun into a recession, but the small and almost certain ripple is something that needs to be prepared for. What are your plans?

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