June 24th, 2013
Obamacare–Yet Another Hurdle for Small Business
I read with great interest the recent DWM article, “Telling Where it Hurts,” (see June DWM, page 18, or go to dwmmag.com/digital and click on June issue or read it here) detailing the struggles of two small businesses, a window manufacturer and a remodeling contractor, in terms of complying with new Obamacare regulations, while still trying to do what is best for their employees.
For me this article hit close to home since Mike Gilkey has been a customer of mine for years. I have seen him grow his business successfully over the years and also make it through our recent economic struggles. I personally knew some of the workers on his IG line that lost their jobs as a result of the company’s efforts to reduce employee count in response to specific aspects of Obamacare which conflicted with Mike’s personal religious views. I can also tell you firsthand that these layoffs were not an easy task for Mike Gilkey, as he values the efforts of each and every one of his employees!
We are not entirely clear of the economic storm that has hit the door and window industry. Yet now, in addition, it seems that Gilkey and many other small but growing businesses now have a political storm to get through as well. I applaud Mike’s conviction to his religious beliefs and admire someone who will do whatever it takes to stick up for those beliefs, even if it means giving up profits and putting the very success of his own company and livelihood on the line.
Freedom of religion is one of the principles that this great country was built upon. However, it seems that with the recent Obamacare regulation, people like Mike Gilkey are being penalized for their religious beliefs. He is not against women’s rights as some may suggest, but rather is sticking up for his own religious convictions, which happen to be pro-life. As the owner of a privately held company, why should he be forced to comply with regulations that are in direct opposition to his personal religious beliefs? Indeed, this is the basis for the legal initiatives that have been launched against the abortion aspects of this law and the Federal Government’s HHS Mandate, which mandates contraception and sterilization coverage, with the exemption only for some religious employers. We will probably see this issue make it to the Supreme Court.
Gilkey Windows and Milanese Remodeling aren’t the only companies that are struggling with this legislation. According to a recent article published in the Inquisitr, about 41 percent of small businesses report that Obamacare has caused a hiring freeze. Another 19 percent said they have fired employees in order to handle the rising costs associated with Obamacare. Many other businesses are responding to Obamacare by reducing employee hours to less than 30 so that they are not considered full time. This way, they don’t have to offer health care benefits. What happened to the promises from the President of reviving the economy and supporting the potential growth of small businesses? It seems this health care legislation is causing the reverse effect, does it not?
Advocates of Obmacare argue that one good thing it will accomplish is that it will bring about the creation of more government jobs. The government will be hiring tens of thousands of people in order to implement the Affordable Care Act. Also, hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on staffing for data centers that need to be set up for sharing medical information and maintaining the state insurance exchanges. Who will pay for all of this? Can you spell TAX INCREASE? And lastly, the IRS will be hiring thousands more as well, because guess which government agency will be tasked with the job of overseeing the long-term execution of Obamacare?
That’s right – it will be the IRS. That’s great news, right? Since we all know that there is no such thing as corruption within the IRS!