“Government regulations such as Obamacare are destroying small business,” says Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.
Speaking at a summit for the Job Creators Alliance, a group he established after retiring from Home Depot in 2002, Marcus said: “Obamacare is going to kill off small business.” He also criticized other forms of government regulations for standing in the way of small business growth.
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time workers will be required to provide coverage for employees who work an average of 30 or more hours a week in a given month. An alternative to that mandate is for business owners to pay a $2,000 penalty for each full-time worker over a 30-employee threshold. Some businesses are choosing to pay a fee to break the law, claiming that this would be less expensive than providing insurance. One potential drawback to the penalty strategy is the tax repercussions. Health insurance is deductible as a business expense, but penalties for avoiding Obamacare aren’t.
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department point to studies that suggest most employers aren’t expected to drop coverage. The Center for American Progress found that in the years following the passage of Massachusetts 2006 health-reform law, which was a model for the Affordable Care Act, the number of people with employer-sponsored health insurance did not decrease.
“This law will decrease costs, strengthen small business and make it easier for employers to provide coverage to their workers, as we saw in Massachusetts, where employer coverage increased when similar reforms were adopted,” says Erin Shields Britt, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services.