What's the Affordable Care Act's impact on small business?

Ron Murray

Brandon Shamim, chair of the LA Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Council. The upholding of the Affordable Care Act means some small businesses will continue to enjoy a tax break while others will have some tough decisions to make.

The Supreme Court’s upholding of most of the Affordable Care Act means some small businesses will continue to enjoy a tax break while others will have some tough decisions to make.

The law offers a tax credit to some businesses with 25 or fewer employees when they cover at least half the cost of their workers’ health insurance premiums. It will also fine companies with more than 50 workers that don’t provide coverage.

"Let’s hope that businesses are not forced to consider reclassifying certain full time employees as perhaps part-time or temporary workers so that they fall below that 50 full-time threshold," worried Brandon Shamim, chair of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Council.

The health care law creates challenges for small firms, Shamim said, but also tools that will help them compete — such as health care exchanges that "allow them to benefit from opportunities that oftentimes were afforded to much larger businesses."

That includes giving them the chance to negotiate lower rates. Shamim also runs a Pasadena-based management-consulting firm, and he's seen the price of health coverage for just a handful of employees jump. He said the law will affect a lot of solo entrepreneurs and home-based businesses specific to the Southland.

"A lot of people in the entertainment industry or in the multimedia or production industry, that traditionally have not had a need for a large workforce — they, too, are now going to be required to have health care insurance," he said. "The good news for those folks is that they’re going to have more options."

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