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Voices of Health Reform: Jim’s Story

This series, Voices of Health Reform, highlights how Americans are already benefiting from the health reform law, the Affordable Care Act. This story is about Jim from Oregon.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series where readers can meet average Americans already benefiting from the health reform law, the Affordable Care Act.

Jim Houser and his wife have owned an auto repair shop in Portland, Oregon for over 25 years, and it’s important to them to retain their employees and keep them healthy. They invest time, energy and money to train their workers and they don’t want to lose valuable employees. 

That’s why Jim has always provided health insurance to his employees. But in the last ten years, Jim has been forced to contend with skyrocketing premium increases, with premiums making up over 20% of his payroll.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Jim and small business owners like him are getting immediate relief.

The health reform law provides tax credits for small businesses that offer employees health insurance. Up to 4 million small businesses could be eligible for relief from high health insurance premiums and, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office, the tax credit will save small businesses $40 billion by 2019. And small business owners like Jim are benefiting from the tax credit today. Jim estimates that the tax credits will save him over $10,000.

Tax credits aren’t the only benefit for small businesses in the Affordable Care Act. The law creates new, competitive state-based insurance Exchanges.  Exchanges will enable individuals and small businesses to pool together and use their market strength to buy coverage at a lower cost, the same way large employers do today, giving them the freedom to launch their own companies without worrying whether health care will be available when they need it.

Small businesses are the engine of our economy and President Obama and his team will continue to do all we can to help small businesses grow, create jobs and succeed. That’s why the President called on Congress to eliminate the overly burdensome 1099 reporting requirement requires businesses to report to the IRS all purchases that exceed $600.  

As Jim notes, the Affordable Care Act is already helping businesses like his “offer the kind of support that keeps employees with your company.” Listen to his story:


Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President for Special Projects.