Small businesses dominate the rural economy. In fact, small businesses dominate the American economy in terms of the number of business firms. For that reason it is important to know, understand and accurately portray the effects of the “Patient and Affordable Care Act ” (Public Law 111-148), the newly adopted health care reform law, on small businesses. This report will examine some important provisions of the new law and how they affect small businesses while dispelling some of the common myths about health care reform and small businesses. It is important to understand what the new law means by “small business. ” In many respects, “small employer ” is a more accurate term. In fact, Section 1421 (Credit for Employee Health Insurance Expenses of Small Businesses) uses that term. Self employed sole proprietors who are not employers (non-employers in statistical parlance) and their immediate family members do not qualify for the small business tax credit benefits described below. They will qualify for the individual credits and premium assistance beginning in 2014 and the more immediate health insurance reforms. MYTH No. 1: Small businesses have to provide health insurance to their employees or face penalties. Not true. There is a general employer mandate in The Patient and Affordable Care Act as a part of the “shared responsibility ” for providing health insurance. But the law specifically exempts from this employer responsibility any business with 50 or fewer employees (Section 1513). The result is that nearly all businesses in the nation
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