Later this month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Make no mistake, this will be a landmark decision with profound implications for the future of our country. But the significance of this decision goes beyond the dubious constitutional standing of the law's individual mandate.
When President Obama's health care overhaul was signed into law in 2010, it set in motion the wholesale federal takeover of 17 percent of the American economy. If fully implemented, the new health care law will impose new compliance regulations, hefty tax increases, and numerous indirect costs on small- and medium-size companies. Taken together, these burdens will considerably impact businesses' personnel costs, ability to offer employees health coverage, and incentive to grow both in terms of earnings and hiring.
These taxes, penalties and fees hurt economic growth, already at a sluggish 1.9 percent for the first quarter of 2012. According to a report from the Heritage Foundation, complying with the health care law will lead to a decline in productivity, shrinking economic output by $706 billion. In addition, the report says the debt the President's health care overhaul creates, an estimated $753 billion by 2020, will crowd out investment leading to an estimated 670,000 lost job opportunities each year. Already, merely the prospect of compliance has affected business decisions.
To add insult to injury, the law's so-called surtax on "high income" earners is not indexed for inflation, meaning over time, more and more middle income earners will be hit with higher taxes. Meanwhile, some of the law's tax breaks have not lived up to their billing. One such provision is the small business tax credit. A recent report from the non partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found roughly 96 percent of eligible businesses have failed to take advantage of the tax credit, citing its complex and cumbersome application process.
For these reasons and more, I have voted 29 times to repeal, defund, or dismantle this misguided law. On Thursday, I voted in the Ways and Means Committee to advance H.R. 436, a bipartisan bill which would repeal the law's onerous excise tax on medical device manufacturers. This $20 billion tax not only is a barrier to job growth in this critical industry, but also will depress innovation and increase health care costs. To make matters worse, AdvaMed, a trade association of medical device manufacturers, estimates the tax could ultimately cost the industry more than 45,000 jobs in the United States.
The level of bipartisan support for repealing portions of the law and the entire law itself should underscore how fundamentally flawed ObamaCare truly is. When honestly accounted, it is an unaffordable budget-buster, and its mandates and tax increases are a burden on job creators -- all at a time of record national deficits and unemployment. While I am an original co-sponsor of H.R. 2, which would take the President's health care law off the books completely, repeal alone is not enough.
Pursuing market-based policies such as allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines as well as tort and entitlement reform offer a better way forward. I am fully committed to providing commonsense, step by step reforms like these which respect the Constitution, increase access and affordability, and don't burden Nebraska families and small businesses with higher taxes.