TN small business owners cheer delay in health care mandate - WSMV News 4

TN small business owners cheer delay in health care mandate

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A delay in the Affordable Care Act is giving some Middle Tennessee small business owners a reason to celebrate.

Many of them said they were faced with a very tough choice: either cut employees, cut benefits or raise costs on customers, and now they have hope there are changes in the works.

Steve Richards owns a document storage and shredding business, and said taking good care of his 55 employees means better customer service.

"I have a very rich benefits program in my business. We pay 100 percent of everything. We enjoy that," Richards said.

But he has big concerns about the law commonly known as Obamacare, and whether or not the layers of bureaucracy and taxes will allow him to keep providing those benefits.

"The more pages that they add, the more things that are being affected are simply going to cost people like me more money," Richards said.

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that employers like Richards would not have to follow the insurance mandate at the end of the year. Instead, the mandate has been pushed back until 2015.

That's why they are focused on ridding some of the funding, such as eliminating a tax on insurance companies that they say would be passed to the employer.

Any extra costs Richards incurs could force him to decide either to cut health care for his employees, or raise costs on his customers.

Still, the delay gives him hope.

"It gives me a little bit of encouragement, because I think somebody is going to come up with a better plan," he said.

The delay could mean savings in another cost. A Jackson Hewitt study earlier this year estimated Tennessee employers would have had to pay an extra $89 million in penalties, because the state had not approved an expansion of Medicaid.

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