Obamacare and Economic Woes Plague Small Businesses

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Amid a sluggish economy and ongoing concerns over the government’s rollout of the Affordable Care Act, small business owners lack optimism about the future. The National Federation of Independent Business, the leading nonprofit small business association representing small and independent businesses, reported that its Small Business Optimism Index edged slightly higher to 92.5 in November from 91.6 in the previous month.

Since the recession technically ended, the average value of the index is 91, which is eight points below the 35-year average. “There is a hint that owners are getting an inkling of what Obamacare might mean for labor costs, concern about the cost and availability of insurance bumped up 3 percentage points after a long period of no real change,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.

“Small firms aren’t currently required to provide insurance (this could change in the future of course), but many do. These owners may find their insurance plans ‘unacceptable’ to Obamacare and be obliged to either pay more for the coverage or abandon it and pay the benefit in cash. This will certainly be a source of angst and confusion in 2014.”

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