Small Business Suffering during COVID, add another worry: Health Care and the Supreme Court

Ahead of the likely confirmation of conservative justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court today, small business owners shared their stories about how a Supreme Court ruling against the Affordable Care Act would directly impact their businesses and employees.

“Congress continues to delay urgently needed financial assistance to struggling families and small businesses and state governments, straining under financial losses caused by the pandemic,” said Main Street Alliance Executive Director Amanda Ballantyne on the call.  “Despite this set of unprecedented crises, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems poised to cement a new court majority that could end health insurance for 20 million people and remove preexisting conditions protections for more than 135 million people during the middle of a global pandemic."

Main Street Alliance also released data on health care insurance and prescription drug cost prices from a recent scientific poll of 600 small businesses owners. Including a large majority of small businesses owners (59%) saying that the information about the Trump Administration working to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court without alternative legislation raises doubts about President Trump. We also saw that a majority of small businesses (60%) say they did not provide health insurance to any employees prior to the pandemic. Meaning the ACA marketplace is what allows employees and owners to get covered because it’s too expensive for many small businesses to offer employer based plans.

 

In addition, over half of small business owners are very concerned about health care prices being too high (61%) and that drug corporations are overcharging for prescription drugs (59%) - which contribute to increased insurance prices. And now during a pandemic when there are so many other priorities, it is unconscionable that the Republican led Senate is putting a priority on confirming an anti-ACA judge over actual support for small businesses through COVID relief.  COVID has made clear the link between health and economic strength.

“I was impacted by COVID 19 personally early on in the pandemic and now have lingering health issues from it. I’m very concerned that if the decision is implemented to get rid of the ACA, that any of the lingering health issues I have because of COVID are going to be considered a pre-existing condition,” shared founder of Adeline Inc, Adeline Wright from Duluth, MN. “I would really like to see [legislators] supporting small businesses in a meaningful way through further [COVID] stimulus to help us keep our boats afloat, but also by keeping the ACA intact.”

The ACA is the only thing standing between the 135 million people with pre-existing conditions and the insurance companies. With the November 10th arguments scheduled in a court case against the ACA that Trump’s Department of Justice is backing, there is a very real possibility that small businesses could see their health care options diminish considerably next year.

“As small business owners, my wife and I don’t have the option of employer-provided-health insurance. And, because both of us have preexisting conditions, private insurance is out of the question, too. The ACA doesn’t allow our preexisting conditions to disqualify us from coverage,” said Bob Goodman, Owner of Robert Goodman Jewelry in Zionsville, IN during the call. “The attacks on the ACA harm business owners and consumers alike. These costs limit the money we can put into both our business and the economy.”

“To live or not to live should not be a budget line item,” said Zweli’s Kitchen owner Leonardo Williams of Durham, NC - a state where his Senator Thom Tillis has voted to repeal the ACA seven times. “Another reason these costs have gone up is that the price of prescription drugs is rising faster than any other good or service. And the upcoming Supreme Court Case is another attack on my ability to get health insurance or provide it for my staff. We are hoping to subsidize their health plans on the marketplace - if that goes away I’ve lost my ability to provide health care for my staff - we are too small for a single employer-based plan to make any sense.”