While the debates over health care reform may have seemed endless to most people watching the battle on Capitol Hill last year, for small business owners, they were only the beginning. When President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, it put small business owners into a “hurry up and wait” status that won’t really be resolved until 2014.

Small business owners need to “hurry up” and figure out whether they are eligible for tax credits made available right away to qualifying companies. The “wait” element has them shifting their collective gaze from Washington to their state capitals, where the structure of the state-level health care exchanges — the real core of the new system — will be determined.