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Thornberry Addresses Business Owners' Concerns During Chamber/SMAC Breakfast

Texoma small business owners are still trying to put pieces of the Affordable Care Act puzzle together. Today they got some of those questions answered by 13th District Congressman Mac Thornberry at a breakfast sponsored by the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sheppard Military Affairs Committee.
Thirteenth District Congressman Mac Thornberry says some small businesses that have provided health insurance to their employees could soon be faced with a tough choice.

"They're at the point where they've got to decide whether they can continue to do that or whether they would have to shut the doors," he says.

And a Wichita Falls business owner says up to this point, weighing his options hasn't been easy.

Bob Mayfield, owner of B&C Printing, says, "With all the challenges with the failures of Obamacare so far, we don't know what some of the premiums are going to be. We don't know what our options for our employees are going to be, we can't even find out what types of plans and what's available."

According to the Affordable Care Act, small businesses that have less than 50 employees do not have to provide coverage.

"Then they've got to figure out what happens to their employees," Thornberry says. "If you send them out to the exchanges, can they afford that? Do they get the subsidies that go with the exchanges? Can they pay a $5000 deductible under the policies that are on the exchanges? All of those are really hard questions that put small business owners in a tough place."

Some businesses have seen a 30 to 100 percent increase in insurance premiums, and Mayfield says he fears the decision he'd need to make if faced with that kind of an increase.

"I don't know that we're going to be able to afford to maintain healthcare with my employees or if it will even be viable," he says. "And yet the uncertainties of the open exchanges are so great, I don't know what kind of position it's going to force us to put our employees in."

Many brokers are encouraging small business owners to renew their insurance policies by Dec. 1 to beat large premium increases that would otherwise hit them Jan. 1.

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