ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – New numbers from the United States Chamber of Commerce shows 74 percent of small businesses plan to decrease employees hours, or lay them off entirely, to avoid costs under the new Affordable Care Act.
In Missouri, Chamber of Commerce president Dan Mehan says the picture looks the same.
“We see the same trend in Missouri and it’s due to the uncertainty, not knowing where the health care system is really going,” he says.
The uncertainty has stunted the growth in Missouri’s economy, Mehan says, and he expects it to get worse.
“We got a big problem, I mean when you’re talking about three out of every four small business people out there saying that they’re going to cut workers, cut hours because of this health care bill, then it’s not good for the country, it’s certainly not good for Missouri,” he says.
Mehan says businesses are hiring more employees as part-time workers, who don’t qualify for benefits if they work less than 30 hours.
“The problems with that are numerous, but one is the fact that a part-time worker makes less money than a full-time worker and there’s less money pumped into the economy,” he says.
This paints a fake picture for the unemployment rate, according to Mehan, because part-time workers don’t qualify for benefits, therefore, the unemployment rate drops even though people are still under-employed.
Missouri is required to set up a state health care exchange, or let the federal government do it for them, in order to facilitate the new law. That has yet to happen and now Congress has delayed the implementation deadline a year.