El Paso and Affordable Care Act

A look at how local small-business owners are reacting

Obamacare and local businesses

EL PASO, Texas - While threats of a government shutdown loom, President Barack Obama's health care law is moving forward.

On Thursday, Obama appeared before Maryland voters to push the Affordable Care Act. With polls showing many Americans still skeptical of the law known as "Obamacare," the president went back to the basics of explaining how 48 million uninsured Americans will be able to buy coverage in new government-run exchanges while mocking Republicans for trying to block its implementation. "The closer we get, the more desperate they get," Obama argued.

"The Republican party has just spun itself up around this issue," Obama said. "And the fact is the Republicans' biggest fear at this point is not that Affordable Care Act will fail. What they're worried about is it's going to succeed."

In El Paso, the talks resonating from Washington and other campaign-style stops hasn't changed everyone's feelings. If anything is clear, it's that the ACA isn't one size fits all.

Robert Cormell, a small-business owner in El Paso, said he won't be getting insurance under the new ACA. Instead, he said he would continue to go without insurance. That means he'll be forced to pay a fine totaling 1 percent of his income, the same fine all uninsured Americans will face beginning January if they choose not to get insured.

"You know to take someone and say you have to have this coverage now to live and breathe in this country, I don't like that at all," said Robert Cormell.

Businesses with more than 50 employees are required to offer insurance to workers. Cormell's bagel shoppe franchise falls below that number, meaning he doesn't have to offer insurance to his workers, but like them they'll have to find a way to pay their own insurance through the government's new online marketplace beginning Tuesday. The 48 million uninsured people in this country will have until mid-December to find a plan or prepare to pay a fine.

The confusing part are the various sources of information coming forward.

The federal government has touted a report that states that insurance premiums will dip. Meanwhile, other sources like Forbes magazine has reported data from the Manhattan Institute which shows premiums for individuals shopping for insurance independently will actually go up.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday that Obama is trying to sell the law to a skeptical public.

"It must be frustrating for the president that folks seem to keep tuning out all the happy talk anyway," McConnell said. "This law is a mess. It needs to go. It's way past time to start over." 

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