Maine small business owners ask Sen. Collins not to repeal health coverage

Maine small business owners ask Sen. Collins not to repeal health coverage

On Thursday at the headquarters of Portland manufacturer Zootility Tools, Maine small business owners shared why they support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) 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.

Nate Barr, owner of Zootility, explained how his business depends on his twenty employees having access to affordable health care and that they get it 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 Barr. “I am asking Senator Collins to do right by the people of Maine and block attempts at repeal.”

Maine has one of the highest rates of small business owners accessing health care through the ACA’s insurance marketplace in the country. More than 7,000 small business owners and an additional 10,000 sole proprietors rely on the exchange for coverage.  The Maine Small Business Coalition presented over two hundred letters to Senator Collins from small business owners across the state asking her to preserve health care reform.

“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 Ikard. “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.”

Many, like Cathy Walsh, owner of Arabica Coffee in Portland, shared that they depend on the ACA in order to get affordable health care for themselves. “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 Walsh.

The event comes after a 51-48 vote by the Senate last night to begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Maine’s Senators split their votes with Senator Collins casting a yes vote and Senator King casting a vote against. 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.

According to analysis by the Commonwealth Fund and Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, not only would 95,000 Mainers lose their health care coverage if the ACA is repealed, but repeal would lead to 13,000 Mainers losing their jobs 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.” Barr said.

Contact Senator Collins Here

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