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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The details on how small business owners should comply with Obamacare was the most timely topic for operators and industry vendors who gathered at LCT Show East Oct. 27-29.
Although Obamacare is beset with major structural problems that could cause it to eventually implode, business owners still need to prepare for it in case it works out, even if in modified form. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives already has voted to repeal Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, more than 30 times, but the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate will not consider a repeal.
Obamacare is plummeting in popularity as millions of Americans lose their health care coverage and face rising premiums. As a result, President Obama’s approval and likeability ratings are tanking to levels approaching the low levels seen by President George W. Bush in his second term.
NLA lobbyists Louie Perry and Laura Bozell update the chauffeured transportation industry on the rules and status of Obamacare implementation and outlined the divided political climate in Washington, D.C.
As of this writing, the individual mandate to purchase health insurance has been delayed until March 31, 2014, which followed an announced delay of the employer mandate to provide coverage to Jan. 1, 2015. That gives business more time to make sense of the complex rules. Obamacare enrollment was supposed to go live on Oct. 1, more than three and a half years after its passage by then-majority Democrats, but the system has been plagued with glitches and embarrassing snafus.
“Our industry is always, always under attack, whether it is a national issue or local issue,” National Limousine Association President Gary Buffo said at the beginning of the Obamacare presentation, called the NLA Legislative Session.
“The single most important issue facing all of you is the implementation of Obamacare,” NLA board director Scott Solombrino told attendees. The CEO of Boston-based Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network added, “We’re going to help you in the next 12 months on how to deal with this issue.”
NLA leaders warned operators not to think they are exempted just because they have fewer than 50 employees, since many variables and calculations determine whether a company must offer coverage. But, generally, if a company has fewer than 50 full-time employees and no part time ones, it does not have to offer health insurance.
The Obamacare update was put together by NLA lobbyists Louie Perry and Laura Bozell, both of Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington, D.C. They made similar presentations to NLA and industry association members at the Annual NLA Day On the Hill event in May, and at the BostonCoach affiliate meeting in July.
According to Perry and Bozell:
For small businesses, the 2,000-page act redefines company sizes and employee statuses for the purpose of determining whether a company has to offer health insurance. The health insurance exchanges for small businesses were supposed to be online on Nov. 1 but the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) delayed them once again, this time to an unspecified date at the end of November.