Mt. Vernon Register-News

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August 22, 2013

Health law a big concern for area businesses

MT. VERNON – To Brad Short of Centralia, the Affordable Care Act creates a “lose-lose” situation for his family's food service business.

The new health care law, he said, has sparked a lot of fear and speculation in the small business community about what the impact will be, not only for employers but for employees as well.

“Our small business employs close to 300 people and a lot of those folks will have to go to part-time now to avoid costs for us, which in exchange it'll lower the payroll for them,” Short said of the law's effect.

Short was one of roughly 30 people to attend an informational workshop Wednesday on the Affordable Care Act, geared toward the small business community. During the meeting, a number of concerns were raised about the new law.

The forum was hosted by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace. It was the second of two such workshops. The first one was held Aug. 15.

Over the course of Wednesday's two-hour session, instructor Dennis Foldenauer gave those in attendance a broad overview of the new health care law and its guidelines and regulations. Foldenauer is an economic development specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration's Illinois District Office.

Foldenauer said his most important piece of advice to small business owners is to consult with their accountant and tax attorney about how best to comply with the Affordable Care Act.

“Make sure that you assess the Affordable Care Act's impact on your business individually,” Foldenauer said. “Everyone is going to have a different set of circumstances.”

The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010.

Its primary intent, Foldenauer said, is to create more access to health care and to reduce insurance premium costs by increasing the “risk pool.”

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