|By John Lundy and Alysee Shelton, Duluth News Tribune|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"I don't think it's a good law," said Keuning, the president of
"I think that my voting will change as a result of this experience."
Keuning, who owns the firm with her husband, John, describes herself as a social liberal who has voted mostly for Democrats. But she holds the law, often referred to as Obamacare, responsible for a 32 percent increase in health insurance premiums that went into effect
"I don't think that the law was written with the small business in mind," Keuning said.
The law was intended to make health care more affordable, more accessible and more effective for everyone, and included provisions for small businesses.
But how is it working for them so far? Interviews with several businesses across the region suggest a frustrating process that chews up time -- a valuable commodity among small business owners -- and offers less-than-stellar options. But some also believe the process will improve with time.
Small businesses in
Choosing an insurance plan through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), the version of the exchange for small businesses, "has been very difficult and cumbersome," Coenen said.
"It was a success, but it probably took about three months to get everything worked out, and thankfully they started early on in the process," Coenen said.
'A few bugs'
"I think for all intents and purposes that process itself has gone pretty smoothly," Rolland said.
Calls to local small businesses didn't yield any SHOP participants.
Trailfitters, an apparel store for active individuals in the Fitgers complex, has only two full-time employees and doesn't provide health insurance, said
"The Obamacare legislation and MNsure have provided a level playing field for these employees to secure their health insurance on their own," Greenly said.
Ski Hut in
Faced with a 28 percent premium increase, Ski Hut switched insurers from