TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Florida businesses may be forced to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars now that lawmakers decided to end the legislative session without a deal on medicaid.
"Its was a huge blow to small businesses here in Tallahassee and throughout the state," said Kevin Cate.
Small business owners say lawmakers desperately need to come up a with plan to provide the more than one-million uninsured with health care coverage.
"These are working Floridians. People who have a job and when these requirements kick in within a couple of years and everybody needs to be covered, businesses are going to have to pick up the slack," said Cate.
This is all a part of getting ready for the Affordable Care Act, which will kick in January 2014. The law equires everyone to have health insurance. The law states any business with more than 50 full-time employees must provide health insurance coverage for those who work more than 30 hours a week.
Bill Herrle, the Executive Director for National Federation of Independent Businesses says businesses will be penalized if they don't comply.
"There's a potential that if business owners don't provide health insurance for their employees. They'll face significant fines and penalties but simply getting more of their employees on medicaid is not the acceptable solution to that," said Herrle.
Businesses are looking at penalty costs between $2000 to $3000 per employee if they don't comply with the law next year.
Herrle says business could will be fined if the coverage employers provide is insufficient, if they don't offer coverage at all, and if those employees have to get coverage from an exchange.
Though the debate is surely not over, businesses are hoping something is done before its too late.