Chamber Delegates In D.C. Seek Answers To Health Care System

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Jo Manning is the owner of C&J's Barbecue. She has three restaurants in Bryan and College Station, but the way she has run her business has changed with the Affordable Health Care Act.

"You know, the Obamacare is very scary because we don't know what to expect," Manning said.

With the implementation of the new health care laws, Manning has to insure another 15 of her employees. That's because according to the health care law, a large employer who has over 50 employees has to offer insurance, even though Jo only has about 25 full time workers.

"The problem is the more we have to pay, the less we have to give to our employees," Manning said.

Manning is doing what she can to manage three restaurants and nearly 70 employees. Now faced with insuring additional employees, Manning has to raise her prices about 15 percent across the board, if not more.

"You know we don't have a choice but to raise prices, everybody is going to see it across the board in order to cover it," Manning said.

The new health care bill won't be implemented until January 2014, leaving a lot of questions coming from business owners.

"We don't now what to expect," Manning said. "I've gone to two seminars, talked to business owners and we just arent sure."

Chamber delegates can sense the fear of the community, so they went to lawmakers to see what they could do about it.

U.S. Representative Gene Green of Houston told the Chamber delegates he is a supporter of the Affordable Health Care Act, but there were some things he would like to change about it to make it more useable.

Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce President Royce Hickman says the delegates are in D.C. to put pressure on lawmakers to make decision regarding the bill, so businesses back home don't have to live with the uncertainty.

"They are very much aware that it is creating problems for businesses," Hickman said.

The only standard message the chamber has received from Congress is that the bill is running behind on becoming a law. This leaves business owners like Jo left to question the future of her restaurant and employees.

Every Congressional leader who spoke with the Chamber agreed that the bill is a work in progress, and there are a lot more changes to be made in the future, including whether or not it stays a law.