The Supreme Court is set to release its ruling on the constitutionality of President Obama's controversial health reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as early as this week. In addition to the highly divisive individual insurance mandate, the ACA contains a variety of provisions designed to broaden access to health insurance coverage, end perceived unfair insurance practices, bend the cost curve and modernize payment methods. Some of these changes have already kicked in.
Business owners are divided in their opinions of the ACA. A recent Small Business Majority survey indicated that only a third of small business owners it queried want the Supreme Court to overturn the Act, while at least half want to see it upheld with, at most, minor changes. Earlier, a Forbes survey suggested 78 percent of responding business owners oppose the law.
On the plus side, the law provides tax credits for qualifying employers, slows premium increases, requires insurers to spend 80 percent of premiums on care, and will require state-based exchanges to offer affordable coverage beginning in 2014. Critics oppose the penalties that will apply to some employers for failure to assure sufficient coverage of their employees and predict that the ACA will ultimately result in tax increases that will hurt business owners.
The National Federation of Independent Business and 26 states have joined the challenge to the ACA, alleging that Congress exceeded its power by imposing the individual mandate and denouncing the impact on state budgets they expect to result from the law's expansion of Medicaid programs.
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