On January 12, 2017 at the headquarters of Zootility Tools, a Portland-based manufacturer, Maine small business owners shared their stories why they support the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At the press conference they and called on the state’s congressional delegation, especially Senator Susan Collins, to reject efforts by President-elect Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal the law.
“There are stories here from small business owners across Maine who couldn’t afford to provide their families with affordable health care before the ACA and can now,” said Will Ikard, head of the Maine Small Business Coalition. “Our representatives are always talking about how they want to help small businesses. Preserving the core of the ACA is a great way to do it.”
Businesses across Maine depend on their employees being able to get affordable health care and through the ACA.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean sicker employees, resulting in more work absences, higher health costs, and lower productivity for small business owners like me,” said Nate Barr, owner of Zootility, whose 20 employees rely on the ACA. “I am asking Senator Collins to do right by the people of Maine and block attempts at repeal.”
The Maine Small Business Coalition presented over two hundred letters to Senator Collins from small business owners across the state asking her to stand by keeping the ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare.
Hundreds of Maine business owners depend on the ACA for their own healthcare.
“I can say without a doubt that my family and I are only able to afford decent health care coverage because of the subsidies built into the ACA,” said Cathy Walsh, owner of Arabica Coffee in Portland.
The event comes after a 51-48 vote by the Senate last night, at 1:30 am, to begin the process of repealing the ACA. Maine's Senators split their votes with Senator Collins casting a yes vote for repeal and Senator King casting a vote against.
Sen. Angus King said the move “will have disastrous consequences for tens of thousands of people in Maine and millions more across the country.”
Senator Collins has publicly stated that any repeal of the health care law should coincide with an immediate replacement policy that would continue to provide health care for individuals currently covered by the law. So, there is hope she might not vote for the final repeal if the measure circles around again to the senate, and the Republicans don't have a plan to replace the ACA.
According to analysis by the Commonwealth Fund and Center for Budget and Policy Priorities 95,000 Mainers lose their health care coverage if the ACA is repealed. Taking away the ACA would also take away the jobs of 13,000 Mainers and would take $565 million out of Maine’s economy in 2019 alone.
“Loss of all of that economic activity and all of those jobs would mean less money being spent at local small business like mine,” said Barr.