11/11/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mandatory Coverage Removes Small Business Owner's Competitive Advantage

Mandatory health insurance coverage for all employees (or being taxed as an alternative) removes the competitive advantage for those business owners who already offer coverage as part of their pay packages. This enforcement removes the business owner's option of using benefits like health insurance to attract better people. This enforcement will also diminish the sense of benefit received by the employee as the benefit will no longer be a benefit but a requirement.

I own three small businesses and provide health insurance to all my employees at each of the companies and have done so for two decades. I do it because I know it is important, I want my people covered and protected, I value my people and want my people to know I value them. I also know that it is necessary in a competitive hiring environment to attract good people, and, ultimately, I believe providing coverage is the right thing to do.

However, I am against businesses being forced to provide health insurance if they elect not to. Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz provides health insurance to workers, giving him a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring. Starbucks spends as much money on this coverage as it does on coffee, and when the employees' contributions increase $8 per pay period they want to protest.

When and if business owners are forced to provide health insurance it will no longer be perceived as a benefit by employees but something they are entitled to.

Taking away the choice of business owners to provide health insurance or not removes from entrepreneurs a competitive advantage and involves government in businesses unnecessarily. They should make it a law that each person must be covered by some form of health insurance, just like with car insurance, wearing a seat belt or going to school. Business owners that are forced to provide health coverage who haven't in the past will only reduce salaries and wages and then pass the cost back onto the middle class in the form of price increases for their products and services.

I believe people deserve and should have health insurance. But don't force me, the guy who is providing jobs, to do so, as it removes my competitive advantage and diminishes the value perceived by my employees. Rather than forcing me to do so or penalizing those who don't, why don't you consider a reward program for those that do provide coverage?

Grant Cardone, Author and International Speaker