Obamacare: A Bridge Too Far for Small Businesses

Like most Americans, I won’t have a seat in the Supreme Court for this week’s debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA) constitutionality, but I certainly will be paying attention to what happens during those three fateful days. All Americans await the outcome of this case which will impact our economic freedoms for the rest of our lives.  

I’ve talked with people in my community and I’m not alone in my belief that the new health-care law is a bridge too far. As if the government didn’t already have too much control over our choices and our lives, the law’s key provision, the individual mandate, requires all Americans buy a health-insurance policy designed by the federal government or pay a fine.

As a country built on the virtue of self reliance, Americans cherish freedom, and we certainly don’t like being told how to spend our money, particularly if such a command from the government forces us into a disadvantageous contract—like a health-insurance policy that we may not need nor want.

As a small-business person, this law also threatens the future of my business. I employ only a handful of people but we work hard to provide our customers with a product of which we are very proud. However, if PPACA remains the law of the land, the costs of the new regulations and taxes that will result will negatively impact my company’s ability to continue providing health insurance for employees, retain employees, and hire new employees.

Some of my peers in the small-business community have already started getting letters from insurers notifying them that their plans are being cancelled or their premiums will rise. My company had over a 20 percent increase in health insurance cost for 2012.This directly contradicts what the President and Congress told us about being able to “keep our plans” if we want and about reducing costs for all. And when the law takes full effect in 2014, one can only imagine how much higher our premiums will rise.

I want practical policy solutions that expand coverage, increases competition, and lower health-care costs. That’s what real reform would provide. But PPACA has not made good on the promise of reform. In fact, just the opposite has occurred, and those higher costs are coupled with an unprecedented government intrusion into our everyday lives.

Fortunately, my interests, and those of my fellow citizens and my business, are being represented in this Supreme Court challenge by an organization that understands just how important it is to protect our fundamental freedoms – the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

NFIB believes, as do I, that if this law stands, there will be no limits on what Congress can force us to buy, tell us to do or mandate how to operate our businesses. I’m thankful that NFIB had the courage to stand up for all of us little guys.

I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court will find our argument compelling. I’m hoping they will realize that our nation’s future rests in their decision. We do need health-care reform, but it must be reform that is sensible, market-oriented and focused on lower costs.

I think of the millions upon millions who have come to America to escape countries where their future was determined and dictated by an all too powerful government. Forcing Americans to buy something is not American at all – it is both unprecedented and unconstitutional and goes against everything this country stands for. Our nation was founded so that every citizen is free to pursue their dreams. Striking down the health-care law will ensure that those dreams can continue for years to come.  

Harold_JacksonHarold Jackson Broomfield, CO

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