I spent last week traveling to the communities along Route 29 visiting small businesses to talk with their owners and employees about how federal policies are impacting their ability to succeed and grow. We made a wide variety of stops in Danville, Gretna, Altavista, Rustburg, Lovingston, Charlottesville, Ruckersville, Madison, and Warrenton, where we discussed a range of issues from taxes to energy to regulations. But at almost every visit, the impacts of the President’s healthcare law were the top concern facing small businesses and their employees, as the law is hindering their ability to create more jobs and is harming their employees.
One employer near Lynchburg told me he would like to expand his business and create more jobs but cannot afford to comply with the extra healthcare mandates that kick in when a company grows to 50 employees. Another business explained how the premiums for their employees are going up nearly 50 percent this year despite no changes in what their plan covers. Nearly everyone I talked with expressed concerns about the continued growth of premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. These cost increases reduce take home pay for the employees, and most small businesses do not have the margins necessary to absorb higher and higher costs, much less try to grow and hire more employees.
Evidence continues to mount demonstrating that the President’s healthcare law has had devastating effects on our families and our small businesses not just in Virginia, but across the country. Recent business surveys by regional Federal Reserve Banks indicated that employers are cutting hours down from full time to part time to cope with added health care costs. Another recent study found that the law is drastically reducing take-home pay for the employees of small businesses and has contributed to more than 350,000 job losses nationwide.
Our Main Street businesses are the backbone of our local economies and have the potential to be our most dynamic job creators. Instead, they are forced to comply with bureaucratic red tape from a misguided law that was forced upon them. These regulations are undoubtedly stifling desperately-needed job creation in the Fifth District, which is unacceptable when some of our localities have unemployment as high as ten percent.
Hearing from these small business owners about how these policies burden them and their employees reinforces my resolve to repeal this very flawed law and replace it with real health reform that does not destroy jobs or reduce wages. House Republicans remain focused on creating solutions that are patient-centered and market-based, putting the power in the hands of individuals and families, not the federal government, to make health care decisions on behalf of themselves and their families. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to achieve meaningful healthcare reform that works for the American people and our economy.
If you need any additional information, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District in Congress.