The Affordable Care Act will be fully implemented by Jan. 1, 2014. But right now, it's causing concern and anxiety for small business owners who say they don't understand how the new law works or how they're going to pay for it.
Hans Rockenwagner's bakery is known throughout Los Angeles for its artisan breads. But looming provisions in the new law have the small business owner worried about his company's future.
Rockenwagner said, "The employees are asking: How is this going to affect me? How do I need to budget myself?"
Because Rockenwagner employs more than 50 people, he is required by the law to offer health insurance or pay a fine every year of $2,000 per employee. Rockenwagner and other small business owners worry the cost to provide coverage could consume their profits. Rockenwagner says his annual costs would total around $300,000. But what's even worse: he says he can't make any decisions because the federal government is giving no guidance. "What are the rates?" Rockenwagner said. "Who are the carriers? Who's covered? Who's not?"
President Obama downplayed the concerns
this week, saying, "Any time you are implementing something big, there's going to be people who are nervous and anxious about, is it going to get done, until it's actually done."
But it's not just business owners sounding the alarm. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who helped write the massive health care bill, recently confronted the president's top adviser in charge of implementing the law. "I just see a huge train wreck coming down," Baucus told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a hearing. "You and I have discussed this many times and I don't see any results yet."
And when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was asked by a radio show caller, "What do you think about Senator Baucus calling it a train wreck?", Reid replied, "Max said unless we implement this properly it's going to be a train wreck and I agree with him."
Reid and administration officials say they need more money to develop detailed plans to help businesses. But as the deadline approaches, the public appears equally as confused. A new poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 42 percent of Americans don't even realize the president's health care law is on the books and nearly six in 10 of the uninsured don't understand how it will impact them. People want answers
, just like Rockenwagner, the small business owner.