Whew. Three days of Supreme Court hearings on health care, and you’d think “mandate”, “severability” “buying broccoli” are the only topics that anyone cares about.
Well, if you speak to members of our Small Business Council, they are.
Small business interests were represented by National Federation of Independent Business lawyer Michael Carvin on day two of the hearings — when the justices heard the arguments for and against a government mandate that would require everyone to buy health insurance — but the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had plenty for everyone to chew on.
A few members of our Small Business Council gave us their reactions to the marathon Supreme Court proceedings.
Joseph Dutra, president, Kimmie Candy Company: The attorney for NFIB, Michael Carvin, did a great job arguing against the individual mandate. He made the point that this is the first time the federal government has required individuals to purchase something simply because they are alive. If Congress can regulate this, there are essentially no limits to what they can mandate. As an NFIB member, I’m glad to have him on my side.
Since the individual mandate is forcing me to buy insurance to help reduce health costs for all Americans, then will they next mandate how we live and what we eat and drink to lower costs even more? Is it fair and just to ask healthy adults who don’t use the medical system to help pay for the for heart bypass surgery for the guy with type 2 diabetes who smokes, drinks beer excessively, eats Twinkies and never leaves the couch,? If you’re going to mandate that I pay for his health care, can’t I demand that he live his life better?
That is my concern with the individual mandate. It opens up a slew of potential mandates that undermine our constitution and our freedoms. The entire law must fall and Congress needs to start over.
Larry Mocha,president, Air Power Systems Co.: It’s fascinating to be able to listen to the arguments. I don’t know if that is something we could always do but I feel like I’m a witness to something that is very important.
I liked the NFIB arguments against the mandate. I think it was [the attorney for the NFIB] that said a tax credit would give incentive for health care but still leave us with the choice. I also am against the mandate.
Regardless of the outcome, I appreciate the opportunity to hear the arguments. I think it’s better than Judge Judy!
David Grenier,president, Greiner Buick GMC: As much as I agree that uninsured Americans are an enormous strain on hospitals and the cost of health care for those Americans who do pay for their health care, the enumerated power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce clearly doesn't create the power of the federal government to mandate citizens purchase health care.
The power to mandate uninsured citizens prove financial responsibility to pay for health care or purchase health insurance lies with the states, per the constitution. To hold otherwise, would turn our founding document on its head and tip our country severely towards federalism rather than its intended balance.