U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo says that many small business owners have come to him concerned about Obamacare.
Some are afraid that their employees will have to be reduced to part time because of the health care law.
On Thursday, LoBiondo spoke in front of small business owners, those who work for small businesses and others during a luncheon hosted by the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce. The 26th annual legislative report took place at The Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor.
One of the topics LoBiondo addressed was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known by both Republicans and Democrats as Obamacare. The law was passed in 2010, and upheld by the Supreme Court last year. It aims at both reducing the cost of health care and insurance, and providing a higher percentage of Americans with some kind of health insurance. Opponents say it will mean more expenses for individuals and businesses and people being demoted to part-time jobs, and hurt the economy.
“The unemployment rate in Cape May County and in South Jersey is way too high to begin with. This is only going to exacerbate the situation," LoBiondo said.
With Obamacare comes uncertainties, exceptions, deadlines not being met and more, LoBiondo said.
Implementing the new health care law is “falling apart,” he said. The Affordable Care Act requires individuals to get health insurance in 2014 or face being taxed $95.
“Public acceptance of this has been on the decline. The business acceptance is totally off,” he said.
LoBiondo said that major unions were for Obamacare initially but changed their minds.
Small businesses wouldn’t be the only ones impacted by health-care changes. So would individuals, according to Michael F. Green of Holly Redeemer Home Care and Hospice, in an interview after the Chamber of Commerce meeting.
He said there’s concern about new cop-pays for Medicare users. Medicare is government health insurance for those 65 and older and younger people who have disabilities. Green is concerned that the 2014 federal budget includes establishing $100 co-payments for Medicare patients relying on home health care.
Holly Redeemer has about 2,000 Medicare beneficiaries a month with about 200 coming from Cape May County, according to Green. About 65 percent of them would be impacted by Medicare co-pays for home health care, he said.
Meanwhile, Obamacare eliminates Medicare co-payments and deductibles for mammograms, bone mass measurement, prostate cancer screenings, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease screening, colonoscopies and key immunizations.
The move expanding Medicare co-payments would also hurt Holly Redeemer, Green said, which provides home healthcare services in many counties in New Jersey. Holly Redeemer has a location in Swainton in Middle Township.
Businesses from small to large are concerned with Obamacare, said Geoffrey O’Hara, who represented the US Chamber of Commerce.
Small business is the backbone of the United States, LoBiondo said at the beginning of the meeting.
Before the meeting got underway, those who attended chatted with one another and with LoBiondo.
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