For all the words written, for all the speeches given, and for all the votes taken, you’d think we’d know more about the Affordable Care Act, how it works and what it requires of small business owners, larger employers, employees and individuals.

Sadly, in talking to my members around the state, there’s still much confusion about the ACA, terms of the law and what small business owners must do to comply. And, there’s reason for that — many specifics, such as who will offer insurance through the state’s Small Business Health Options Program and just how much that will cost — have yet to be announced.

Yet, even with the confusion, uncertainty and some anxiety about the ACA and its impact on small business, here’s what we do know: The status quo was unsustainable.

Since 2005, I have been conducting an annual poll of my members to track what issues are most important for them and every year concerns about the cost of health care coverage have topped that list. There are about 3.5 million small business owners, who I count as those with 100 or fewer employees, and about 2.8 million sole proprietors, those who have no employees, in our state.  Prior to health care reform, many of these Californians could not qualify for coverage or gain access to health insurance they could afford. For them, health insurance was simply out of reach.

Thankfully, the ACA has led to some significant positive changes that make health care coverage more accessible, such as eliminating pre-existing conditions as a cause for barring anyone, including small business owners, from gaining health coverage. Still, there are other provisions and requirements of the law that need to be examined.

In the coming weeks, I’ll have the opportunity to share information in this space about what the ACA means for small business owners in California and what they could and should do to comply with the health reform law that takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014.  With implementation less than five months away, there is a lot to clear up.