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My Turn
Other Views from Those in the Know
Bill Herrle
Executive Director
Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher In Case Against Health Care Law

This week, the National Federation of Independent Business and 26 states, including Florida, are going before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that the health-care law President Obama signed into law should be struck down.

This is a big deal.

Usually, the Court sets aside one hour for oral arguments. It allowed 90 minutes for Bush vs. Gore in 2000. But the Court has allotted six hours over three days for “Obamacare.”

The issue here is whether the government can force you to buy health insurance.

I’m the Florida executive director of NFIB, the nation’s leading small-business association. We say Washington doesn’t have the constitutional authority to force anyone to buy anything. The district and appellate courts agreed with us.

From the perspective of Florida’s job creators, this is a flawed piece of legislation that small-business owners don't want and can't afford. Our members want reform that makes health care more accessible and more affordable, and this law does not address these important issues.

But most importantly, we believe the health-care law is unconstitutional.

The so-called individual mandate, which says citizens have to buy an approved health insurance policy or pay a penalty, oversteps the government’s authority and violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

This isn’t the same as the government saying you have to buy auto insurance in order to drive a car, because you don’t have to drive a car. This is like the government saying everyone has to buy car insurance—even pedestrians, people who ride the bus and people who prefer to bike. With a few exceptions, everyone would have to buy insurance under this health-care law, simply because they’re alive.

Clearly, our health-care system is broken. But Obamacare isn’t the cure. In fact, if this unconstitutional health-care law is allowed to stand, it would make things even worse.

The increasing costs of health insurance coverage has been the number one concern for the small business community, and here in Florida, 77 percent of small business owners expect to see yet another increase in their premiums this year.  But Obamacare does nothing to address cost.

Allowing a law that takes money away from small businesses would have a detrimental impact on job creation. It would make it even harder for small businesses to keep the lights on, let alone grow, thanks to job-hindering provisions such as:

  • An employer mandate that encourages job cuts, not job creation
  • New taxes on small business health insurance plans
  • Union and big business carve-outs
  • Increases in Medicare payroll taxes
  • New taxes, fees and mandates specifically targeted at the small business community
  • Prohibitions on Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts and others. These prohibitions limit employer and employee flexibility and drive up health care costs

These new taxes, mandates and government programs will stifle the ability to hire, grow and invest – key components that are necessary to move America's economy forward in a robust and meaningful way.

Florida’s small business owners have been fighting this battle alongside the Florida Attorney General’s office from day one, and after months of uncertainty and frustration, small-business owners are finally within the reach of some clarity on how this law will ultimately impact their lives and their livelihoods.

I believe the Supreme Court will agree the health-care law is unconstitutional and strike it down.  Striking down the law will be the first step toward achieving real reform, and NFIB and our members are ready to engage with Congress to develop a responsible and responsive health-care solution – a solution that gives employers and their families access to quality, affordable health care, and doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution.

Bill Herrle is the Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business/Florida, the state’s leading small-business association.

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by Dr. Radut.