A new Gallup poll reveals small business owners as wary about the Affordable Care Act. Forty-eight percent of the 603 small business respondents think that Obamacare will be “bad for [their] business.” Fifty-two percent said the ACA will reduce the quality of the healthcare they and their employees receive, while 55 percent believe the ACA will raise the amount the business will pay for healthcare.
But this isn’t even the most notable finding. Opponents of the ACA have long claimed that the new law could repress US job growth. This new poll provides some evidence that, at least for now, small businesses are suspending hiring in the face of ACA provisions:
When asked if they had taken any of five specific actions in response to the ACA, 41% of small-business owners say they have held off on hiring new employees and 38% have pulled back on plans to grow their business. One in five (19%) have reduced their number of employees and essentially the same number (18%) have cut employee hours in response to the healthcare law. One in four owners (24%) have thought about eliminating healthcare coverage for their employees.
It may be that these effects are a kind of initial panic that will ease over time as employers see how the implementation of the ACA plays out. But as an early indicator of the economic effects of the President’s central domestic achievement, this data raises some major red flags.