Small Business Owner: “NFIB Doesn’t Speak for Me”

J. Kelly Conklin, the owner of a cabinet-making shop in New Jersey, has written an insightful op-ed in The Hill about the political attack machine that uses the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) to target the Affordable Care Act and pose as an advocate for small business when in reality it always sides with huge corporations. The NFIB’s stance on Obamacare has been completely negative since long before it was enacted. Combined with the organization’s cozy relationship with insurers and gifts to Republican politicians, the group’s biases against health care reform are clear.

Why is the “voice of small business” taking pot shots at the Affordable Care Act instead of serving small business owners with factual information that could help them maximize the benefits they get from the health reform law? Does NFIB give realistic proposals for how it would fix a broken system? No. Instead, it offers a litany of complaints, which as usual focus on two things: “mandates” and “taxes.”

Well, with Tax Day coming up fast, if you want to talk taxes I’ll take you up on it. Let’s talk about this tax: the hidden tax health insurers have levied on small businesses year after year, driven by cost-shifting for uncompensated care from the uninsured and under-insured. This hidden tax was already adding over $1,000 to a family insurance policy as far back as 2008.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that hidden tax will be greatly reduced: when new market reforms get 30 million more people covered, insurers will have no excuse to continue shifting this cost to us. If the insurance companies refuse to cut the hidden tax and lower our premiums, we should bar them from the new state insurance exchanges. They’ve been telling us “it’s my way or the highway” for long enough – now it’s our turn.

Conklin hits the nail on the head. In the case of health care reform, the NFIB clearly does not represent small business interests. Its political orientation is anti-worker, as evidenced by its strong partisanship and opposition to all forms of regulation and taxes. Small business owners who want to do the right thing for their employees are struggling to pay the ever-increasing cost of health care, and if the NFIB were to accomplish its anti-Obamacare mission, it would only cause health insurance costs to increase faster and higher than ever.