As vice chairman of the House Small Business Committee, I recently joined my colleagues in a hearing examining the impacts of Obamacare on America's small businesses. It was an eye-opening and jarring experience.
Under Obamacare, which I have voted to repeal and defund numerous times, any employer with the equivalent of over 50 full-time workers will be required to offer affordable health insurance that meets mandated government standards for all employees who work more than 30 hours per week, or pay a penalty. This will begin in 2014. This fact is having a chilling effect in small businesses who are already positioning themselves for next year by either cutting back their employees' hours or putting off any plans for expansion.
At a time when we're trying to create jobs and expand opportunities for our small businesses, there is clear evidence that Obamacare is already driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to operate their business and hire more employees. We must not forget that small businesses account for 70 percent of our nation's jobs and provide an invaluable source of innovation to our economy and so you can imagine the tremendous negative impact Obamacare will have on people's lives.
Serving on the Small Business Committee has afforded me the opportunity to question and examine the impact of the implementation of the healthcare law on small businesses. Time and again, I have witnessed thousands of pages of health regulations being put in place with more coming down the pike every day. In fact, over half the rules, over 700 have yet to be proposed. Small businesses in the 3rd Congressional District are frustrated and unsure about how to comply with them. And those trying to comply are watching their costs ratchet up by the day which adds to the uncertainty of managing small businesses.
The costs of paperwork alone under Obamacare are mind-boggling. Douglas Holtz-Eakin with The American Action Forum told our committee that the 80 million hours of paperwork being created by Obamacare is the equivalent of 39,822 employees working an entire year. Based on a Bureau of Labor Statistics examination of gross domestic product per hour worked, Obamacare's red tape alone costs the U.S. approximately $4.9 billion annually. Not shockingly, that figure will grow as the main components of the health-care law are implemented on January 1st of next year.
Back in 2010, the president said that his health-care law would "cut costs and make coverage more affordable for families and small businesses." Yet, during testimony before our committee, one Florida small business owner and former Obamacare supporter conceded that the law is not truly addressing the rising costs of health care. This admission, among others I have heard from small business owners of all political persuasions right here in Missouri, continues to cause me even greater concern about where our health-care system is headed.
Our committee will continue to work to protect small businesses and clearly Obamacare poses a serious threat to them and, in turn, our entire economy and the majority of this nation's workers. I pledge to continue listening to your voices and work accordingly to try and stem the impact of this bad law before it's too late.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office call be reached at (573) 635-7232.