SA small business owners prepare for ruling on health care law

Owners weighing options as they wait

SAN ANTONIO - The long-awaited Supreme Court decision on the federal health care law is expected Thursday.

On the eve of the ruling, small business owners are thinking about what it could mean for them.

In Northeast San Antonio, business is bubbling over for Artesia Springs, a small locally-owned water bottling company.

Owner Rudy Ramon attributes part of that growth to providing health care coverage for his employees and paying two-thirds of the cost.

“Our greatest asset leaves at 5 o'clock every day and we're blessed that it comes back every morning,” said Ramon. “And I think part of it is because of the insurance."

Artesia Springs employs 21 people and has seen steady growth in its work force.

Providing health coverage for those employees is a challenge, Ramon admits.

“There is no ease, and that's why folks push back on it,” he said.

It is the kind of challenge Chef Rene Fernandez knows well. He says while turning just 6 to 8 percent profit, providing health insurance for his staff at Azuca in Southtown is just not an option.

"Forget it,” Fernandez said, “We might as well close."

If the Supreme Court upholds the health care law, that will mean more money out of Fernandez' pocket.

While he has thought about the financial blow, he is like many small business owners in San Antonio who say no matter the ruling, they are still uncertain.

"Nothing has come out that says this is what it means for business owners, this is what it means for employees, and this is the total liability,” said Fernandez.

So now both of these business owners wait, along with the rest of the country, to hear what comes next from Washington.


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