Hispanic Business Owners And Obamacare

COMMENTARY Health Care Reform

Hispanic Business Owners And Obamacare

Oct 29th, 2013 2 min read

Spokesperson, The LIBRE Initiative

Israel Ortega is a former contributor for The Foundry.

Beyond the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website, many Hispanic business owners see other problems ahead. These include hiring freezes, lower employee hours and increased insurance premiums.

Editor’s Note: From time to time, Latin Business Today will present views from across the political spectrum on issues of vital interest to business people. These views are the soley the author’s. Below, a perspective on the impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act on Hispanic businesses. Earlier in the year the author participated in a Debate & Debrief video with Jose Sueiro, Principal of MetroDiversity Foundation Inc.

By now everyone knows that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) rollout has been a complete disaster. Less known is that Obamacare is already causing many business owners, including many Hispanic entrepreneurs, to resist hiring additional workers because of the uncertainty of Obamacare.

The fact is that for the backbone of our economy, the small business owner, the “glitches” of the Obamacare site are secondary compared to the immediacy of coping with the regulations, taxes and paperwork.

Lost on many of the most powerful Hispanic interest groups and the White House are facts that many businesses are slashing hours and dropping healthcare coverage for their employees. In fact, a recent survey by Mercer points out that many industries that depend on part-time jobs will be hit hard by the employer mandate. What’s more many employers are being very cautious in expanding their current payroll as recent feedback notes collected from the Federal Reserve point out, including this one: “Many contacts also commented on a reluctance to expand due to uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act…some employers are cutting hours or employees.”

 It’s hard not to attribute this to the barrage of new regulations coming from the federal government increasing business operational costs, especially when hearing directly from Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, who was recently quoted as saying, “They are adding to employers’ costs. So the case can’t be made on money,”

Another Hispanic business owner, Juan Carlos Barrera, expressed similar concerns: “Small businesses are being force to cut employees, for fear of rising costs… This law it’s telling me to stop growing my business”

Even the normally friendly Hispanic press for the president and his policies has been exposing these “unintended consequence” of Obamacare, as evidenced by this recent report, where a Hispanic business owner, Ruben Rives, expresses exacerbation to the Telemundo network worried about how he is going to keep his cleaning business afloat because of the Obamacare mandates.

Of course the effects of Obamacare extend beyond Hispanic business owners, but also to individual, as evidenced by a recent Heritage Foundation study pointing out how premiums are rising, especially for young people. This is particularly problematic for Hispanics because they also happen to constitute one of the youngest populations. In states like Arizona and Texas, our research shows that rates are skyrocketing. For example, a 27-year-old Texan can now expect to pay $229 for a one-month premium, up from $115 prior to Obamacare.

There’s a better way to provide healthcare coverage to those Americans looking for coverage, such as implementing free market reforms, buying health insurance across state lines and fixing the regulatory system to encourage Health Savings Accounts. This approach would not burden small business owners or force Americans to spend more to cover their monthly premiums.

Editor's Note: Ojel Rodriguez co-authored this commentary.

- Israel Ortega serves as The Heritage Foundation’s chief spokesman to Spanish-language news media, including print, radio, television and online.

- Ojel Rodriguez is an intern at The Heritage Foundation and a Member of the Young Leaders Program.

Originally appeared in Latin Business Today.

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