You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Small business organizations clash over new opinion poll on Affordable Care Act

By Amy Biolchini

Screen shot 2012-06-14 at 4.03.57 PM.png

Courtesy of the Small Business Majority

As a U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit nears a conclusion on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, organizations are offering dissenting information as to what small business owners think about healthcare reform.

According to a new opinion poll released Thursday by the Small Business Majority, slightly over half of small business owners polled think the Affordable Care Act should remain in place with minor changes.

The poll results clash with the stance of the National Federation of Independent Business, which is challenging the Affordable Care Act and says that the overwhelming majority of small business owners are against the healthcare reform.

The lawsuit challenges Congress' power to require every American to purchase health insurance — as mandated by the Affordable Care Act — which as passed as an initiative by President Barack Obama in 2010. The Supreme Court heard a six-hour, three-day oral argument on the issue in March and is expected to hand down its decision at the end of June.

The Small Business Majority’s poll surveyed 800 small business owners in eight states: Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Louisiana, New York and Illinois.

The poll found that 50 percent of small business owners want the Affordable Care Act to remain with minor changes, 16 percent would like to see a major change to the act and 34 percent want to see the healthcare law overturned.

By the end of the survey - which included many questions with specific information as to what the Affordable Care Act provides to businesses - 56 percent of respondents wanted the act to remain with minor changes, 16 percent wanted major changes and 28 percent wanted to see it overturned.

Mark Hodesh, owner of Downtown Home and Garden in Ann Arbor, said he’s in favor of the healthcare reform.

“We compete (with big box stores) by offering a good benefits package,” Hodesh said. “The Affordable Care Act really helped.”

The act allows businesses with fewer than 25 employees that provide health insurance to qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent to cover the cost of insurance — a rate that will increase to 50 percent in 2014.

With the savings his company has recouped through the tax credit, Hodesh said he’s been able to create a job for an unemployed worker.

Health insurance exchanges will begin in 2014 as a part of the Affordable Care Act. The exchanges will be marketplaces in each state where individuals and small businesses can compare policies and premiums, and buy insurance.

The insurance exchange that comes into effect in 2014 will help Hodesh continue to be competitive, he said.

“Too bad that this law has become a political hot potato,” Hodesh said. “It’s about people and employees. Their well-being should be the most important issue.”

Rhett Buttle, government affairs director for Small Business Majority, said opinion has been negatively swayed so far because there hasn’t been enough education on the specifics of the reform legislation.

“There’s been more heat than light shed on the law,” Buttle said. “Once people learn about provisions in the law, they like it more.”

The Small Business Majority does not have a membership out of principle so it can use a more scientific approach to survey small businesses on issues, Buttle said.

There are about 28 million small businesses in the U.S., Buttle said, and about half are not a member of an association.

The National Federation of Independent Business has about 10,000 paying members in Michigan and about 350,000 paying members nationwide.

Members are surveyed before the organization takes action on an issue — and after an overwhelming majority of them supported a move to overturn it, the NFIB took legal action, said Charles Owen, director for the Michigan chapter of the organization.

Owen accused the Small Business Majority of “push polling” small businesses to get the results it wanted — phrasing questions in a way that would elicit a positive response.

“Clearly this organization has crafted their poll to yield a result that goes against conventional wisdom,” Owen said.

Though the NFIB is leading the charge against the Affordable Care Act at the national level, Owen said the organization has been advocating for healthcare reform for a long time.

“We’ve never been able to accomplish our goals for reform,” Owen said. “The approach of this law … does make things worse for small business.”

A pair of federal lawmakers have recently questioned NFIB’s political motives, stating that it's working on behalf of corporate donors and conservative political interests.

The NFIB is an “equal-opportunity, non-partisan organization” Owen said.

The Small Business Majority has also come under question by a national media outlet for its ties.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

Will never understand why they created the mandate rather than just impose a tax to pay for the AHCA. Around the globe that is how national HC is funded. It's easy and it's legal. I guess the word "tax" was just too dangerous even with solid control of Congress. I know someone who worked for a national restaurant chain. Because of AHCA, they made all their employees part time temporaries, cutting their hours to avoid giving them HC under AHCA. The other thing that sticks in my craw about AHCA is that it puts no burden whatsoever on individuals to get healthy. That is common with single payer countries. Rather, AHCA puts the burden on industry and the population to pay for behavior that makes people unhealthy and runs up the costs like nothing else. No, just make insurance companies accept everyone who comes along and spread the costs to all policy holders by increased premiums. Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg and the few making an effort to curb unhealthy behaviors. Unless the fine for not buying HC is equal to the cost of premiums, why purchase insurance? Just wait until you get sick, buy insurance, and cancel your insurance after you get well. Finally, the travesty about free birth control pills shows how two faced the AHCA is. Free medications for healthy people so they can have less expensive sex. Meanwhile horribly ill people have huge prescription costs. And insurance policy holders are paying for it.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

Some of you may remember that they told us that when all drivers purchased car insurance, rates would go down. They were lying to us then. They are lying to us now when they tell us that when everyone is forced to purchase health insurance, rates will go down.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

Some people use the mandate for car insurance as a reason to support the HC mandate. Problem with that is one can choose not to drive and thus you do not have to buy insurance. A proper comparison would be that everyone, including folks who do not drive, would be forced to buy auto insurance. The reason being, even if you do not drive or have a car, you could get in one and drive away. And premium costs will go down. If the mandate is held up by the SCOTUS, they maybe that will happen, some administration will force all Americans to buy auto insurance. Then we would see if the premiums would go down. Or if people who invest in auto insurance companies get richer. That is the problem with AHCA too, even if insurance companies rake in more $ how do we know they will lower premiums?


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

Eight years of Romney will see the fall of this country, like the roman empire.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Have you ever hear the old expression "liars figure but figures don't lie"? You can poll until you get the results you want or word the questions in such a way as to skew the results somewhat. I don't follow polls, I just know the government is overreaching on this one and it's not right. We actually left British rule for a lot less imposition into our personal lives.................


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Yeah, the heathens are the only ones with any sense. God will not pay your health insurance and you will get ill at sometime in your life. You can either go the elephants graveyard and die alone or you could be part of a country that looks out for its citizens health.

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

Thank God we are not all socialist heathens.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

You mean like requiring the pledge of allegiance in schools? Like prohibiting same-sex marriage? Like prohibiting same-sex benefits being provided by LOCAL government units? Like tracking the weight of kids in our schools? Like mandating autism health coverage, despite being the party against health care mandates -- because the Lt Gov's daughter has that condition? Like these impositions into our personal lives by the Michigan Republican Party ?


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

The author does little to hide her position in favor of the Obama Health Care Plan by interpreting the NFIB poll to match her left leaning ideology.The majority of her mainstream colleagues continue to ignore all other credible health care alternatives such as the bipartisan plan put fort by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI)

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

The whole staff here leans left to the point you have to hold the page crooked to balance it out.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:55 p.m. No RINOS!


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Romney's Tax Hikes The candidate is masquerading as a free-marketeer. National Review In fact, Romney increased taxes by $309 million, mainly on corporations. These tax hikes, described by Romney apologists as "loophole closures," totaled $128 million in 2003, $95.5 million in 2004, and $85 million in 2005. That final year, Romney proposed $170 million in higher business taxes, "Tax rates on many corporations almost doubled because of legislation supported by Romney," Peter Nicholas, chairman of Boston Science Corporation, explained in the Jan. 6, 2008, Boston Herald. "His portrayal of himself as a reliable tax cutter," Nicholas added, "is undercut by the facts." Also, Romney raised the tax — from 5.3 to 9.8 percent — on subchapter S corporations owned by business trusts. Nicholas called this 85 percent tax hike "an important disincentive to investment, growth, and job creation." Joseph Crosby of the Council on State Taxation observed, "Romney went further than any other governor in trying to wring money out of corporations."


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

"I think there is need for economic stimulus. Americans have lost about $11 trillion in net worth. That translates into about $400 billion a year less spending that they'll be doing, and that's net of additional government programs like Medicaid and unemployment insurance. And government can help make that up in a very difficult time. And that's one of the reasons why I think a stimulus program is needed"- Mitt Romney January 2009.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Romney is on TV telling us he would pass elements of "Obamacare"! Liberals! "It's pretty clear what team Mitt Romney is on when he passed socialized medicine that included $50 dollar abortions -- bragged about not lining up with the NRA -- appointed liberal activist judges to the Massachusetts bench, and was hanging out at Planned Parenthood events celebrating the pro–choice agenda." - Rick Santorum


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

I did not say tax credits are sociaism. I said the 2 congressmen are socialist leaning in their beliefs. It seemed clear what I was talking about. The EITC program now has over $2 billion in fraud to illegal's not even living in US.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Isn't it funny how when people actually look at the way the new law works..they like it! When they listen to talking heads telling them what they think the new law does, they oppose it. Propaganda vs fact. Right now you pay for the uninsured. Having health insurance is a form of personal responsibility, making sure you can cover your bills. Allowing people to gain access to primary care via insurance will REDUCE to overall cost of health care in this country. There was a time when conservatives believed this too, then a black democrat passed the law, and the flip flopping began. Remember, the same people ginning up the fear of the new law also warned you about the threat of Iraqi nuclear weapons and Saddams ties to Al Qaida, told us inflation would be 10% and unemployment would be 15% by 2012 under Obama.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

People already have access to primary care via insurance. The problem is health care is expensive and you simply cannot make it inexpensive. The problem with AHCA is that by forcing insurance companies to cover everyone, premiums for people who have insurance will rise. Why anyone thinks it will reduce the costs makes no sense. The problem is not that people who can afford insurance don't have it, most of them do. If a person is wealthy they don't need insurance, they can just pay cash. Insurance rates might go down if in the US millions of wealthy people did not have insurance and were forced to buy it. That is not the case and if a person can pay their medical costs out of pocket, is it fair to force them to pay for insurance? The only reason would be to pay for everyone else's care.

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

Dream, Dream. Dream


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

Mixmaster, I did not make anything up. The article states "The act allows businesses with fewer than 25 employees that provide health insurance to qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent to cover the cost of insurance — a rate that will increase to 50 percent in 2014." How do you think a tax credit is funded? It comes from taxpayer revenue, therfore the taxpayer is paying for this busineses health care premiums.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

So now tax cuts/credits are "socialism". Interesting. federal Earned Income Tax Credit, President Ronald Reagan called the EITC "the best antipoverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress."* Similarly, Mark Everson, who served as IRS commissioner under President George W. Bush, called the EITC "one of the government's most successful anti-poverty programs."**


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 11:05 a.m.

I like the way AA news hides the fact 2 socialist leaning congressmen, "Democratic Representatives Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (Minn.) " question the motives of people who oppose their baby. I also find it interesting a small business that will have taxpayers paying for his health care likes the new law.

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

MM...can you counter JS and show some facts for your statement?


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Taxpayers already pick up the tab for millions of patients. in 2009 over 43 billion dollars of unpaid medical bills was passed on to premium paying insured. The average U.S. family and their employers paid an extra $1,017 in health care premiums last year to compensate for the uninsured, according to a study to be released Thursday by an advocacy group for health care consumers.- Families USA


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Stop making things up. Taxpayers are not paying for anyone's health care. Employees and employers share the costs

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 1:31 a.m.

Why is it anything BHO has something to do with is always screwed up?


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

@J (Smith) - while we travel down glory road, pay attention to the map. "Bin Laden dead, no screw ups" - an eleven year effort with solid leads only in the last two. the right time came up on his watch. Merits for saying yes to the raid, the only call available to fit the strategic goal of a body without rubble. De-merits for the leaks, pushing for a movie to be made before the election, and blowing the cover of a Pakistani Doctor attempting to help us - now facing imprisonment in Pakistan. "Stock market at 13,000, $1.4 trillion in cash" - interesting, both are directly related to companies NOT participating in a recovery that includes capital investments and jobs. Companies holding cash in the form of stock raises stock prices and the $1.4T held is often cited by the left as "evil". Nice weave. "More deportations" - directly resulting from more border patrol/ICE agents. Hiring began after 9/11. "Lowest Federal tax burdens in 60 years" - you mean as the result of the Bush tax cuts? Note: Partial credit for Obama extending them. "Tax increase on tobacco... More children covered by health care". You split two related items. If you are referring to SCHIPs/CHIPS, signed in 1997, extended by Bush and Obama: the former extended the then-current provisions. Obama and dem congress expanded it to cover children from families making 300 percent ABOVE poverty (up to $62k) line. Blatant nose under the tent for later Obamacare. "Unemployment dropped from 10.2-8.2". That's good news? Really? You actually bought the "private sector economy is doing fine" line? Wow. If you ponder back to the last major recession and the unemployment rate in 1981 and then in 1984, that's called a recovery J. "I-94 and ARrA" (small "r" for reasons above). At least one project that was "shovel ready". Nationally a mess, with few others "shovel ready" and wasteful green crony


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

TBS- my stats are real, your posts are Talking Points fed to you by Media Elites.

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

Some people just love to dream.....good luck with that


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Or it could be that you don't know what you are writing about. Bin laden- dead, no screw ups. Auto industry helps create 4000 jobs in western MI- Stock market recovered from 6500 and is now close to 13,000. Corporations have 1.4 Trillion in cash due to good business. More deportations of illegal aliens than EVER. Lowest federal tax burdens in 60 years. The only tax increase has been on tobacco. More children covered by health insurance. unemployment dropped from 10.2-8.2%. I-94 rebuilt with ARRA funds. It's horrible!


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : noon

Because the Dude has never done a thing in his life and got elected based on racism, blaming other people, and a message that delivered nothing..... Remember, you can't disprove something as shallow as "hope and change."


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 10:58 a.m.

One big screwup creates many little ones....2012 the nightmare ends


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

Because some people lack the intellectual skills to determine the difference between fact and fiction.


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

No fear...the poor already get excellent health care treatment .... just cut and paste this link


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Cash I read the article, how does it have anything to do with health care? The article says she was treated with sophisticated technology and followed medical guidelines. I figured when I saw your link they may have booted her out with no treatment whatsoever. You are correct too about the poor. Millions of poor people do not have HC insurance but are Medicaid eligible so they are in fact covered.


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

We pay more for health care RIGHT NOW and the costs are projected to rise faster without a uniform system. The projected rise in health care costs under The Affordable Health Care Act are 7.4% Without the AHCA costs are projected to rise upwards of 15% I think 7.4% is way better than 15%

The Picker

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

To achieve the 7.4% the mandated off-setting cuts will need to be achieved. Do you think those cut will be made? Somehow I doubt it.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 11:21 a.m.

If you believe those numbers, I've got a bridge that I would like to sell you. I don't believe that obamacare will reduce healthcare costs.

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

Please explain what you mean MM


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2 a.m.

The only wash you know is the hogwash fed by Fox News and Karl Rove


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

"The Small Business Majority does not have a membership out of principle so it can use a more scientific approach to survey small businesses on issues, Buttle said." That's one of the most creative ways to describe a political astroturfing shop that I've seen. Ever ask yourself why so many people are getting so sick in the first place? I can think of a whole bunch of reasons, all protected if not promoted by government policy: unhealthy food guidelines from the USDA, FDA approved toxic synthetic additives adulterating processed food, FDA approved mercury dental fillings, armed government assaults on organic farms by various agencies including the Michigan DNR, etc. Isn't corporatism grand? And they have us arguing over how to pay for managing the mess rather than noticing root causes. It's all too complicated to worry your pretty little heads about. Big Brother will take care of you.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

You are correct. Even more important are obesity, smoking,sedentary life style. Health care is important but a healthy life style is even more so


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

This law is a sham and a travesty to freedom. I am hoping and praying that the Supreme court decides to throw it out.

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

1bit......You have done something even BHO has failed to do....he has no idea what is in the bill unless the teleprompter has it in writing for a speech.....very sad indeed.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

Yes, I've taken the trouble to read it. It is long. It is an imperfect solution. There needs to be some modifications. I wish the real Republicans had bothered to help shape the bill.

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

1bit....Please tell us......have you done what no elected official has?.....Have you actually read this bill?


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

This comment is hyperbole. Please elucidate what exactly you despise about the law. Is it that insurance companies,under the new law, can't use pre-existing conditions to deny coverage? Is it that kids can stay on their parents' insurance longer? Is it the creation of health exchanges to lower the cost of purchasing insurance? Is it the elimination of of "maximum benefits"? And what is your grand alternative?

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

You are so right madhatter......"This law is a sham and a travesty to freedom."

Michigan Man

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

Hatter - I am with you! Can you imagine, under Obamacare, countless IRS gestapo cruising the waiting rooms and hallways of our fine hospitals carding the folks for their health insurance documentation - and then issuing the $2000 ticket for those without healthcare insurance. Who knows, maybe the death panels which will be activated under Obamacare may be preferable to dodging the IRS agents?


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

You must hate small businesses and the jobs they provide because many of them seem to like the Health Care Act.


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

And from a local small business owner "Mark Hodesh, owner of Downtown Home and Garden in Ann Arbor, said he's in favor of the healthcare reform. "We compete (with big box stores) by offering a good benefits package," Hodesh said. "The Affordable Care Act really helped."


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

So we can either. 1) Go without health insurance placing the financial burden on those who do when those who don't need health care. 2) Pay ever more quickly increasing premiums putting more money on the bottom line of Insurance Companies. Your "solutions" are incredibly short sighted, elitist and exclusive.


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Interesting article Amy, I'd strongly advise readers to link to the New York Times article (linked via "Small Business Majority has also come under question"). Gets to the roots of this organization. Thanks for providing the link.


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Can't wait for the court to throw this Obama-insanity out. Under this law we'll be under penalty of IRS enforced fines for being a criminal by not participating in commerce. That's right college students, you are criminal if you don't "choose" to get health insurance under this law.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Mixmaster I would add in regard to Gov Romney in Ma: that is precisely how health care should be addressed, at the state, not federal level. If a state is okay with it, fine. In regard to Pres Nixon, what he did was institute non profit HMOs. A very good idea but it got all screwed up when Pres. Reagan opened up HMOs to for profit folks and that is where they became a mess.

Alex Swary

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

The same way you pay IRS enforced "fines" for being Single, I guess. Also, the University where I went to school made me show proof every semester that I had sufficient health care coverage before I was allowed to enroll in classes. Had I not had sufficient coverage, I would have been forced to purchase the University's policy, so I don't think this will affect many college students at all.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

There are several ways this isn't true. College-age students are either covered by the school they attend or under their parents' policy if they aren't in school. The AHCA just asks freeloaders to pay toward their health care. It doesn't change things for those of us who get coverage via an employer, for example. Just the freeloaders you and I pay for are affected.


Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

It is not "criminal", you just have to pay a fee so that the rest of us aren't stuck with your ER bill.

The Black Stallion3

Sun, Jun 17, 2012 : 2:10 a.m. is it that you would know his reasoning?


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

The only reason you don't like this is because President Obama initiated it. Romney had the same plan for Massachusetts. Nixon supported a national health care system. So did Reagan, who also raised taxes 11 times during his presidency.


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

You may be happy paying more for your health insurance without the AHCA, but I am not.


Sat, Jun 16, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

And an emergency room is required to treat anyone who comes through the door, whether they're insured or not, whether they can pay or not, and whether they intend to pay or not.