Health care reform: Those against the bill now forced to live with it

Health care not pleasing small business ownersWhile half the country welcomes the historic passage of President Obama's health care reform, the other half feels it is being forced to live with it. How are those who were against health care reform bracing for the changes?

Some of the reform is already active -- tax credits of up to 35% of premiums for small businesses, for instance, are available now. Most significant changes take effect in 2014. WalletpPop polled a handful of anti-health-care-reform folks to find out what impact the legislation will have on their lives.

Employee Options
Eric Majewski, an investment consultant for Merrill Lynch in Providence, Rhode Island, has lived his entire life without health insurance. "It's not that I'm hurting for money, I see it as a waste," he says. "I haven't been sick in almost 20 years. I have no need for insurance. To be forced to buy something when I don't need it, ain't all that great." His father, who owned an excavation company running bulldozers and dump trucks in New York City, didn't have health insurance for his family of eight.

When Majewski got hurt growing up, he would go to the nurse's office at school and say the injury happened on the playground. Though he will buy into his company's plan now that the law passed, he resents having to. "I may be forced to buy for my income level. The penalty level will be probably triple for what it will be to buy the insurance," he says. He hopes that lawsuits against the legislation are successful.

Small Business Plans
As the owner of a trucking and freight company in Worthington, Ohio, John Stewart oversees under 100 employees. Even in this economy, Stewart is having a hard time retaining employees and sees the option of providing health insurance as a way to attract workers. Stewart says, however, he feels stuck between a rock and a hard place and is using insurance consulting services like to help him find out how he could save money providing insurance to employees. "We're already looking at a 30 percent increase on our health insurance premiums, starting July 1. For the margins that are on our business, that's a problem of just plain survival," he says. Like Snead, Stewart has children in high school who will have the option of staying on his insurance until they are 26. He hopes that his three children will be able to take out affordable insurance plans from their college, to offset his costs. "As an owner of a business I have to worry about costs involved for everybody," he says.

A Parental Choice
Ben Snead is an executive in a small commercial real-estate company in Westport, Connecticut and the father of two. Snead now has the option of keeping his two children, ages 19 and 21, on his health insurance until they are 26. "It's sort of a mixed blessing," said Snead. "It's nice for them to be covered. On the other hand, I work for a small company...That's a larger price to my employer."

As an executive, Snead is in charge of overseeing his company's bottom line and worries over the increased cost when it comes to covering the adult children of company employees. "All these things are good but someone has to pay for it," he says. Snead plans to attend a conference on how the health care reform affects small businesses, to understand the changes. "Everyone knows healthcare is a problem. It needs well thought-out comprehensive solutions, not something you ram through because your ego is so big," he says, adding "The GOP messed up too. They could have spent their time making it better."
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