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60% of firms to kill health insurance, charge more under Obamacare

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

A majority of small business owners and manufacturers are mulling drastic changes to comply with Obamacare, with 21 percent set to drop health insurance to workers altogether and 38 percent planning to make employees pay much more.

In a poll done for the National Association of Manufacturers and National Federation of Independent Businesses, 59 percent said that they will have to consider changes once the full law kicks in because increased costs will jeopardize their operations. According to the poll, 67 percent expect Obamacare to raise healthcare costs.

The fears about spending more on health care are adding to growing concerns among small businessmen and women about staying in business, said the poll from Public Opinion Strategies.

Pollster Bill McInturff noted that the combination of a bad economy, greater regulations and increased economic uncertainty have forced 24 percent of the firms polled to lay off workers, 23 percent to tap their own savings to stay open and 11 percent to kill health coverage for workers.

"The climate in Washington is a concern to them," said McInturff. Dan Danner, president of NFIB added: "Why would I invest in this environment?"

Those polled were so down on President Obama and Congress that many said they wouldn't start a business today. Asked if they would start a new business, 55 percent said no. Among the reasons they cited were high taxes, health care costs, regulations and an uncertain economy.

Said McInturff, "The data paints a bleak picture, with a majority of respondents saying in the last three years, the national economy is in a worse position for American businesses and manufacturers." What's more, he found, businesses see little evidence that the economy will brighten soon.