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House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce Hearing (Insurance News Net)

Chairman Hanna, Ranking Member Meng, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity today to offer the self-employed's perspective on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to share with you its impact on those of us trying each and every day to keep our businesses afloat so that we can leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

My name is  Charlie Arnold  and I am the President and owner of Arnold Powerwash LLC, located in Lewes, Delaware. Arnold Powerwash is a family-owned, professional power washing company organized in commercial and residential divisions, cleaning all types of exterior surfaces, along with fleet washing and dry ice blasting divisions.

Like many self-employed, I wear various hats - from small business owner to community leader. In addition to owning and operating Arnold Powerwash, I am also proud to serve as the Pastor of Seaside Baptist Church and as the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Captain for the Lewes Fire Department. Finally, it is in my role on the Member Council of the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) that I am offering today's testimony. The NASE is our nation's leading advocate and resource for America's 23 million self-employed and micro-business owners. It is in all of these roles that I am able to provide a unique perspective and first-hand experience regarding the impact theAffordable Care Act has had on the nearly 23 million self-employed Americans, the largest potential consumers of Obamacare.

At first glance, the impact of the ACA on my business appears to be limited. I currently have only two full-time employees and several seasonal employees defined as "leased" employees. Yet, I have found myself in a continued state of confusion to the status of my current health care coverage. As well as the additional confusion caused by the restrictive actions taken by both the Departments of Treasury and Health and Human Services toward the rules governing Health Savings Accounts (HRAs), and the continuing disparity faced by the self-employed versus "big business", namely the two reprieves given by the Obama Administration to larger businesses in the last year that grants them freedom from complying with the new law. However, the self-employed are left having the March 31, 2014 enrollment deadline looming over our heads, while we are forced to confront the potential for possible penalties for not enrolling in Obamacare.

Since October 1, 2013, the self-employed have been caught between a rock and hard place, trying to navigate the complex nature of the requirements under Obamacare and how it impacts us, our families, and our businesses. In fact, in a survey conducted by the NASE leading up to open enrollment in theExchange Marketplace, 60% of respondents said they thought there was a "low" or "very low" chance they'd be able to secure both affordable and comprehensive coverage in 2014. n1

We can all acknowledge the launch of the Exchange Marketplace was fraught with confusion. The last minute cancellations of millions of health care plans was both unexpected and detrimental to many Americans - many who were assured their health policies would be carried over as "grandfathered" plans. This was especially challenging for the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of self-employed small business owners who had these types of plans and had not been previously planning on purchasing health care via the Exchange Marketplace.

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