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“Since the election, people are realizing, ‘Oh, this is real. This is happening now,’” he said.

Mr. Kuhlman said companies with 40 to 60 employees are “probably the most nervous,” since they are “right in that sweet spot there.”

John Arensmeyer, CEO of the Small Business Majority, cautioned that 96 percent of companies have fewer than 50 employees and are exempt from the sanctions, and many large employers provide insurance and will not face penalties. He said the fines imposed on affected companies will have an impact, but “they’re not massive penalties.”

He also does not believe the penalties will dictate a company’s crucial business decisions.

“If they see an opportunity to grow,” he said, “they’ll grow.”