Small Business Associations And Individuals Joins State Lawsuit Against President Obama’s Healthcare Reform Bill
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
President Obama has tried to marginalize the law suits filed by 20 states concerning the constitutionality of his healthcare reform bill. President Obama has the power of the pulpit. He also has the traditional media helping him.
There are two main issues with these legal challenges:
- Is the mandate to force citizens to buy healthcare insurance constitutional?
- Is the nationalization of healthcare a constitutional infringement on States rights?
The lawsuits against the Obama administration have come from 20 State Attorney Generals, plus physicians’ groups and constitutional legal centers. An attempt has been made by the administration marginalize each lawsuit without much explanation.
It is difficult for the average citizens to understand the merits of the challenge. President Obama and his staff keep telling us the bill will reduce the cost of healthcare. It will be good for everyone. President Obama says he has been assured by legal counsel that the bill is constitutional.
Two weeks ago the National Federation of Independent Businesses filed an amended complaint to the lawsuit originally filed by 13 states.
“In addition two individuals also joined the litigation. One is the uninsured owner of an automobile repair shop in Panama City, Fla. The other is a man from Washington State who prefers to pay his medical bills out of pocket rather than being compelled to obtain insurance, as will be the case starting in 2014.”
President Obama’s administration claims the lawsuits are a political ploy by Republicans. The administration has stated it will challenge the law suits on their legal standings and authority.
Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to promote and protect the rights of small businesses to own, operate and grow their businesses wrote;
The centerpiece of this law is an individual mandate requiring virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine.
We strongly believe that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not give Congress the power to force individuals to purchase a private product or face a fine.
Requiring individuals to purchase something simply because they are alive is unprecedented.”
President Obama’s lawyers’ response to the constitutional challenge is it is a political ploy to tarnish the healthcare reform bill.
In court filings the administration has claimed that an individual decision to not purchase insurance is, in effect, a decision about how to pay for future medical care. Taken in the aggregate, those decisions substantially affect interstate commerce by shifting the cost of covering the uninsured to policy-holders, health care providers and taxpayers.
This is a lame argument.
Individual businesses have realized that President Obama’s healthcare bill will dramatically raise health-care costs rather than lower costs. This will increase the overall cost of doing business. There is a built in bias against small businesses.
What’s more, the federal mandate requiring that nearly all U.S. residents carry health insurance by 2014 seriously threatens our basic constitutional rights and individual freedoms.
The government cost estimates are already rising.
“According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the overhaul will cost about $115 billion more than first projected, bringing the total to more than $1 trillion.”
One trillion dollars does not even come close to the real and hidden costs of President Obama’s healthcare reform bill. The bill is not a healthcare reform bill. It is a way of centralizing federal power over individual rights.
“The reality is that the tax credit is complex and very limited because firms qualify based on number of employees and average wages.
The credit, which is only available for a maximum of six years, puts small business owners through a series of complicated "tests" to determine if they qualify and how much they will receive.
Fewer than one-third of small businesses even pass the first three (of four) tests to qualify: have 25 employees or less, provide health insurance, and pay 50% of the cost of that insurance.”
“More importantly, the credit is temporary, but health-care cost increases are permanent. When the credit ends, small businesses will be left paying full price. They’ll also be forced to deal with all sorts of new taxes, fees and mandates buried in this 2,000-page law.”
One hidden tax is the healthcare insurance industry fee of $8 billion (that escalates to $14.3 billion by 2018) on insurance companies based on its market share. The fee will be passed on to employers in high premiums.
This tax will be paid almost exclusively by small businesses and individuals. The law specifically excludes self-insured plans. Most large corporations and labor union are self insured and will avoid this tax.
President Obama said his healthcare reform bill is going to “go after” the healthcare insurance industry’s grotesque profits.
The rules they are helping write will permit the healthcare insurance industry to load its expenses as it has done previously.
With the business association and individual plaintiffs joining the lawsuit public perception might shift from the lawsuit being primarily a political device as President Obama has tried to emphasize to this lawsuit being a serious constitutional and states’ rights issue.
America wake up!
President Obama’s healthcare reform bill is a very expensive law. It will not decrease the cost of healthcare or increase the quality of healthcare.