Business Groups React to Health Care Ruling

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The reaction of the business community to the Supreme Court’s June 28 ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act was a mixed bag of pro and con. Both the Small Business Majority and the Main Street Alliance (MSA) were among those voicing support of the court’s decision, while the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) reacted to the court’s ruling with disappointment.

The Main Street Alliance home page featured comments and reactions from a number of small business owners who were celebrating the court’s decision. John Costin, owner of Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebunk, Maine, part of the Maine Small Business Coalition, noted: “This is a good day for small business across America. Small business owners knew we couldn’t afford to go back to the nightmare scenario that health care was for us before reform…. Provisions of the Affordable Care Act — from rate review, to the value for premiums rule, to the guarantee that there’s somewhere to go for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition  — are already making a difference for small businesses, and there’s more to look forward to.”

An e-mail letter from John Arensmyer, founder and CEO of the Small Business Majority, called the health care ruling a “victory for small business owners who’ve struggled with the excessively high cost of health insurance for decades. This decision is one to be written into the history books not only for the monumental impact it will have on small business and the economy, but also for changing the way Americans view health care.”

Conversely, the National Retail Federation lamented the court ruling. “We’re disappointed by today’s ruling,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “The court missed an opportunity to redress the many shortcomings of the law. As it stands, the law wrongly focuses more on penalizing employers and the private sector than reducing health costs. For these reasons, NRF has been a consistent skeptic of the Affordable Care Act…. This law will have a dramatic, negative impact on every employer and employee in the United States and further constrain job creation and economic growth.”

In a statement, Retail Industry Leaders Association President Sandy Kennedy said there were concerns about over-regulation hindering employers’ ability to provide their employees with health coverage. “With the Supreme Court decision now behind us, the focus must turn to the employer-mandate and the effect that impending changes to employer-sponsored coverage will have on the nearly 170 million Americans who receive health care through their employer,” Kennedy stated. “President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that if they liked their health insurance, they could keep it. However, today, with just 17 months until the law takes effect, and no meaningful implementation guidelines available for employers, those assurances are in doubt. While retailers are committed to continuing to provide health coverage to their employees, over-regulation jeopardizes their ability to do so.”

Watch for continued coverage of health care in future issues of Bookselling This Week.