As a local small business, its always our preference to do business with other local small businesses. These are the kind of businesses who do make the choice to provide health insurance to their employees as part of a benefit package. In the course of the past several months, these companies have been receiving the same notification that I have been receiving–we are expecting increases in health insurance premiums in the range of 19%-35% as Obamacare kicks in. (On the DR Show last week, one of the guests, who runs a think tank in DC, got beat up by his co panelists when he confirmed that he, too, was expecting a 35% increase in health care premiums for his employee, so its not just Massachusetts and its not just conservatives who are saying this). Starting in the past two weeks, we have begun receiving notices from our vendors that state that they view their employees as a valuable asset, that the employer intends to pay the increased rate and, therefore, that we will see in increase in their invoicing by anywhere from 3%-7% to cover the additional expense. We’ve been responding to an expected increase in our own costs, and the increased costs of our vendors, by raising our fees nearly 9%. I’ve been seeing in contracts that some of those who use my company for services are now raising their rates by as much as 11%. What this means is that the mere threat of premium increases in Massachusetts has already created an inflationary spiral in the double digits. If our higher rates become a problem, we’ll simply shift to services from larger vendors who have no such compunction, as well as on-line services, or we’ll do without. At a meeting of small business owners earlier this week, its clear that I’m not the only one thinking this way. Thus, not only are we facing an inflationary spiral, but we are also facing a potential huge job loss as small business owners shed employees to stay competitive. The train wreck has begun.