So is defeat a disaster for small business? Almost certainly not, though it may prove to be a disaster for NFIB’s main policy priority of low taxes.
The bill in fact contains substantial benefits (some might even say giveaways) for small businesses. That starts with a program already under way to offer special subsidies to firms with fewer than 25 employees that want to offer health benefits. As long as your employees earn less than $50,000 on average (law firms, medical practices, and other elite professional partnership are thus ineligible), you can get a tax credit to defray 35 percent of the cost of the insurance if you’re a for-profit firm, and 25 percent if you’re a nonprofit. When the law really gets rolling in 2014, those subsidies rise to 50 percent for for-profits and 35 percent for nonprofits.
Firms with fewer than 50 employees are also exempt from the “employer responsibility” provision of the law... That is supposed to deter firms from responding to the law by simply dropping existing insurance coverage. But the ACA doesn’t make small businesses pay that penalty.
Put the special subsidies and the exemption together, and the result is a law that’s pretty clearly a good deal for small businesses.
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