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Economist: Arizona businesses wasting time on Obamacare

PHOENIX — When it comes to Obamacare, small businesses in Arizona are wasting their time figuring it out, an economist said.

“What’s really a shame is this is non-productive time being spent,” National Federation of Independent Business Arizona State Director Farrell Quinlan told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Rob & Karie on Tuesday. “This is not a small business going out there and figuring out a way to serve their customers better and build a better mousetrap. This is all, in effect, wasted on trying to figure out this new law.”

Quinlan said a lot of small business are concerned about the cost of the Affordable Care Act and are becoming perplexed about the delays and small implementations the law has undergone so far.

“We are seeing a number of our small businesses wondering what’s the new landscape going to be in healthcare and government regulation,” he said. “It’s one of the top concerns they have, the uncertainty out there.”

The largest concern with Obamacare in regards to the economy is businesses who can’t afford the higher premiums to hire more temporary and part-time workers, something Quinlan said is documented. The problem? Those workers are likely to put in more hours with zero gain.

“What you’ll find happening is that people will be given 25 hours of work for one job, they’ll get a second job, get another 25 hours, end up working 50 hours — more than they would before — and they’re not getting any of the benefits,” he said, adding that his agency is working to get the full-time employee status set at 40 hours per week instead of 30.

Quinlan said the NFIB has tools to help businesses wade through the 2,500-page law and the more than 19,000 pages of regulations.