Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today continued his all-out push to take down the fatally flawed $2.6 trillion health law, attacking on multiple fronts with legislation aimed at striking at the heart of this egregious law that is threatening to bankrupt America.
Hatch introduced two bills today to repeal the two main pillars propping up Obamacare -- the individual mandate and employer mandate. He also introduced a bill (S.17) to repeal the onerous medical device tax that was included in the health law to fund Obamacare.
"There is no question that the $2.6 trillion health law will put our nation on a treacherous course -- driving up health care costs, increasing taxes on families and employers, stifling job growth, and reducing the quality of patient care. In fact, its central tenets pose a grave threat to our basic liberty and our ability to recover from this severe economic downturn," said Hatch, who has also co-sponsored legislation by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to fully repeal the health law.
Hatch's American Liberty Restoration Act (S. 19) would repeal the individual mandate that the senator has repeatedly called unconstitutional and has prompted lawsuits by over 20 states. His American Job Protection Act (S.20) would repeal the job-crushing employer mandate that Hatch says would force more layoffs and increase taxes on businesses at a time when unemployment continues to push past 9 percent. The measures have garnered the support of 23 Senate Republicans.
"By repealing both the unconstitutional individual mandate and the job-crushing employer mandate, we effectively are taking down the two central pillars holding up this disastrous law," Hatch said. "If President Obama is serious about creating good-paying jobs in our nation, as he stated during his State of the Union address, enactment of these common-sense initiatives would be a strong step toward achieving that goal. The House listened to the American people by voting to repeal Obamacare; now it's time for the Senate to follow suit by deploying every available tool to take apart this law.
"Congress overstepped its authority by telling Americans that they have to buy health insurance or else," Hatch added. "The Constitution empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce, but does not tell Americans what they must buy. It's time to repeal this unconstitutional Washington mandate that encroaches on the principle of federalism and Utahns' personal liberty."
Hatch was the first member of Congress to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, requiring Americans to purchase health insurance. Utah was in the original group of 13 states that filed the first lawsuit minutes after it was signed into law by President Obama. These cases are gaining traction within the court system. This week, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to expedite its hearing of Virginia's suit against the new federal law, with the hearing tentatively scheduled for May. The National Retail Federation, Americans for Tax Reform, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and National Federation of Independent Business have endorsed S. 19.
The American Job Protection Act (S.20) would strike those provisions in the health law forcing employers to provide health insurance for their employees or face a massive tax increase that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found would hit employers with $52 billion in new taxes. S. 20 has gained strong support from within the business community and has been endorsed by National Retail Federation, Americans for Tax Reform, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors, International Franchise Association, National Roofing Contractors Association, and National Restaurant Association.
"The employer mandate would force businesses to let people go or raise the cost of doing business to such an extent that they don't start hiring," Hatch said. "This doesn't make any sense at any time, but especially when our nation's unemployment rate continues to reach past nine percent. Let's repeal this job-crushing provision so businesses can back in the business of hiring."
Hatch's Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act (S.17) strikes at the medical device tax in Obamacare. Under the new law, medical devices ranging from surgical tools to bed pans will get hit with a 2.3 percent excise tax hike that will raise $20 billion in revenue over 10 years and ultimately hinder industry innovation, job creation and the overall delivery of quality patient care to fund the $2.6 trillion health law. S. 17 would immediately repeal the tax, which is slated to take effect in 2013.
"A $20 billion tax hike on medical device manufacturers to fund Obamacare will cripple an important engine of opportunity, job growth and innovation, while hurting the advancement of technologies essential to improving patient care," Hatch said. "Furthermore, these tax hikes will only result in higher insurance premiums and increase the cost of medical devices. That's the wrong thing to do at a time when consumers are already facing skyrocketing health costs, made worse by this $2.6 trillion health spending law. This legislation is a common-sense initiative to help peel back this disastrous health law, and I'm committed to working with my colleagues to ensure our measure is enacted into law."
The measure is co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).