Filed Under:Markets, Employee Benefits

Employer Mandate Under Fire

Small businesses could be forced to provide health insurance (Lucy Pemoni)
Small businesses could be forced to provide health insurance (Lucy Pemoni)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) came under heavy fire at a hearing today before a House health panel, with witnesses calling the law unconstitutional and saying it is an inappropriate subsidy for health insurers and the insured.

Witnesses said the legislation will raise employment costs when fully implemented in 2014 and that the “individual mandate is not a tax because its primary purpose is to punish, not to raise revenue.”

“As both the Congressional Research Service and the Congressional Budget Office have observed, the PPACA is entirely without precedent insofar as it mandates individuals to enter a stream of commerce," Severino said. “The fact that, over the course of two centuries, Congress never used this purported power to compel purchases, suggests that Congress never has understood itself to have this power in the first place.”

“Even under the Supreme Court’s broadest reading of the Commerce Clause, no law and no case has yet attempted to compel individuals to enter a market under the guise of ‘regulating’ that market,” Severino said.

“The data belie the government’s claim that the individual mandate is constitutional on the ground that it regulates economic conduct with a substantial effect on interstate commerce,”  Bradbury said.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, New York, asked, “Could it be that the $2,000 per worker penalty in the new health care law, effective 2014 and levied on employers who do not provide the right kind of health insurance, is discouraging hiring?”

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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
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