Thursday's Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is arguably the most important legal ruling of the 21st century.
But the bill's "individual mandate" provision was not the only controversial piece of the legislation. The high court's ruling affects small businesses, especially those that have over 50 employees, with a mandate requiring those employers to provide health care to employees--or face a fee. For start-ups and smaller businesses, however, the ACA provides a healthy tax credit that could enable employers to provide health care and expand their businesses.
Here's what a few business owners have to say about the ruling:
Zalmi Duchman, CEO of The Fresh Diet, @ZalmiD
"We are unsure at this time on the effect this will have on our business, but we are sure it will be negative. Health care costs are way to expensive for us to offer to our employees. We will probably just pay the fines in 2014 for not providing health care instead of getting a plan for our employees."
Ilya Pozin, founder of Ciplex @ilyaNeverSleeps
"Everyone should have health insurance. I get chills when potential employees apply to work at Ciplex have no current coverage. They are rolling the dice on the most precious thing we have. Life."
Fan Bi, founder of Blank Label, @lifeoffbi
"Paying employees' health insurance is something I've been on the fence with, so this is a strong incentive. If we were to grow to over 50 employees, though, the high costs and lack of tax credits would likely hinder our growth. On the whole, because we are such a small company, we view this as a net positive."
Vanessa Merit Nornberg, president of Metal Mafia, @VanessaNornberg
"I am glad they upheld Obamacare, even though I feel the policy itself needs to re-worked. Reversing Obamacare at this point would have created further chaos and challenges--especially for small business owners. Most of us have only recently finally gotten enough information on the policy and how it will work to allow us to chart a course of action for our businesses within it."
Charlie Graham, founder of Shop It To Me, @ImCharlieGraham
"For our company in particular, I do not think this ruling will affect us negatively and it may even help us. As a small and growing Internet start-up, we already offer high quality health care coverage to all of our employees, so nothing should change. And if anything, provisions like the new exchanges (and the fact that everyone is now covered) should hopefully reduce the crazy escalating costs of health care."
Stuart MacDonald, CMO of Freshbooks and founder of Expedia.ca, @stuartma
"We're based in Canada, and the fact that you don't need an employer to provide health-care there is a real boon to entrepreneurship. People can join start-ups and go into business for themselves without risking bankruptcy or the health of their families."
Chris Mittelstaedt, founder and CEO of The Fruit Guys, @theseedfeed
"I am happy that the supreme court upheld the health care legislation today. I've always felt that the risk to all Americans--financially, socially and ethically--of having so many people uninsured is more troubling and creates a greater moral hazard than the complications of the solution that is being offered. There will always be points to a solution this big that people don't like or agree with. But today at least this ruling allows us to take a step toward figuring out a real solution rather than doing nothing and pretending that somehow health care will get better on its own."
Robbie Vitrano, co-founder of Trumpet, Idea Village, and Naked Pizza in New Orleans, @RobbieVitrano
"I am supporter of the act on the basic premise that we have de facto chosen not to deny care to people...Ignoring that fact has resulted in a highly inefficient system. This healthcare reform is an example of a proactive step, that, prior to the politicizing of the issue, was embraced by the majority of Americans."
Paul Spiegelman, founder and CEO of The Beryl Companies, @PaulSpiegelman
"I am pleased with the Supreme Court's decision. Not for political reasons, and not for business reasons, but because of my outlook on personal responsibility. I believe that our U.S. healthcare system and the lack of economic transparency has created a culture in our society that removes personal accountability for our most precious possession our health...As far as business implications, there is a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs to help fix this broken system. Our industry desperately needs innovation, technology and new ideas to transform the industry."
Jim Zuffoletti, president of OpenQ, @ZuffOpenQ
"The Affordable Care Act deliberations helped freeze the life sciences in their quest to 'go social.' Now that ACA's decided, we expect a renewed demand for social business solutions which will benefit OpenQ and other providers of social business solutions."
Steve Cody, founder of Peppercom, @RepManCody
"As a liberally-minded, small business owner, I'm somewhat torn. I do believe we should provide healthcare for every citizen. But, the current system is badly broken and small business owners, in particular, are being burdened with excessive costs. I'll continue to do the best to provide affordable coverage for my employees while hoping some politician somewhere can figure out the larger mess."