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Small business owners wary at prospect of increased costs

Queens business leaders said they were concerned about how Congress’ vote to reform health care would affect small businesses in the borough, but they would watch the changes under the new law before making a judgment call.

Much of the borough’s revenue is generated by small business owners.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have health care reform,” said Albert Pennisi, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “The question is how it’s going to roll out for our businesses. It’s great no one will be excluded for pre-existing conditions. But our concern is what will be the impact on the health care industry and how it will affect small businesses. We don’t want businesses with 50 or more employees to not hire or expand. We want to see how this is going to work in practice rather than theory even if we think the theory is great for America. We have more questions than answers.”

William Degel, owner of Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, said he employs an estimated 160 people at his three sites in Bayside, midtown Manhattan and Manhattan’s West Side. He did not approve of the new law, but said he would “wait and see” how it plays out.

“I believe there are health care issues in America, but I do not believe we should force health care on people,” he said. “I have health care for myself and employees who can afford it. But there’s not enough accountability in government. They shouldn’t be choosing for us.”

— Nathan Duke

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