Maine small business owners head to Washington to save the ACA

Maine small business owners head to Washington to save the ACA

Nine small business owners from across Maine traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with the state’s congressional delegation and request that they vote to preserve the core of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The business owners, members of the Maine Small Business Coalition (MSBC), met with Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and  Bruce Poliquin and shared their stories of how the ACA has allowed them and their employees to afford quality health insurance and to start or grow their businesses.

MSBC representatives also delivered 250 letters from Maine business owners to Senator Collins, who is seen as a critical swing vote on Republican attempts at ACA repeal, asking her to vote to support the health care overhaul.

“My family and I are only now able to afford decent health care coverage because of the subsidies that are part of the ACA,” said Alex Nevens, owner of Newcastle Publick House, who made the trip to Washington. “Just as important for my business, since the ACA when into effect, is that my employees are no longer stressed by not being able to afford basic health care.”

According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in five Americans who enrolled in health coverage through the ACA exchanges are small business owners. In total, 95,000 Mainers now get their health care through the exchange.

The business owners expressed their gratitude to Senator King, an independent, and Representative Pingree, a Democrat, for their ongoing commitment to support only ACA alternatives that would provide at least as many Mainers with health care coverage of quality and cost at least equivalent to the current law.

“We appreciate Senator Collins’s obvious commitment to finding ways to build on the improvements that have already been realized by the Affordable Care Act,” said Will Ikard, director of MSBC. “If she is unable to achieve a compromise that can get bipartisan support, we hope she will keep her commitment to vote against any attempt at repeal without a quality replacement.”

Republican Representative Bruce Poliqiun, on the other hand, reiterated his opposition to core principles of the ACA that have led to marked improvements in the lives of working Mainers.

“I was disappointed that Representative Poliquin was unwilling to commit to preserve health care for those Mainers who need it most,” said Gale White, owner of Lubec Brewing Company. “I wish he was more focused on his constituents than on toeing the Republican Party line.”

Photo via the office of Senator Angus King.

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