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The Supreme Court of the United States Decision on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. ROBY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my deep disappointment with the recent United States Supreme Court ruling on June 28, 2012 that upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The Court's opinion is lengthy and complicated and will require careful evaluation and review. However, we know that the Court affirmed the view that President Obama's law represents a significant tax on the American people, and that it is through the federal government's power to levy taxes that the Court upheld the law as constitutional.

Mr. Speaker, the Court's legal analysis is dubious and cause for concern given the dangerous precedent it sets. Can the government now require Americans to purchase government-approved goods and services or else face the threat of a tax? What we do know, however, is that the Court put restraint on the power of Congress to mandate the purchase of goods and services under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The Court ruled on the legal issues, not the wisdom of the policy. The American people have already weighed in and overwhelmingly rejected this law. As a whole, the law, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts will cost $1.6 trillion and will result in as many as 20 million Americans losing their existing health care coverage, remains deeply unpopular with the public. This is a stark contrast to the President Obama's repeated promise that, ``if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.''

The President's law has also proven to be ineffective at reducing the cost of health care, as it is suffocating small businesses with overbearing regulations and hampering job creation in a time of economic uncertainty. Recent estimates indicate that the law will actually cost 800,000 American jobs, not create 400,000 jobs as Nancy Pelosi claimed in 2010.

By law, beginning in 2014, employers with more than 50 employees will be required to offer health insurance coverage or face financial penalties. In addition, an employer plan must cover a specific set of services determined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and meet actuarial standards laid out in the law. As a result, employers will be forced to choose whether to meet the new insurance requirements, pay noncompliance penalties to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or reduce workers' hours so they do not qualify as full-time. I have heard from several small business owners in my home state of Alabama, and across the United States, that will have financial struggles no matter which decision they chose. How can a business owner provide health insurance to his employees if his business is bankrupt?
We can all agree that the Court's preservation of PPACA's employer health insurance mandate is costly, to both employers and to their employees. Rising costs will force employers to consider dropping health coverage altogether. Recent polls state that 30 percent of employers will ``definitely'' or ``probably'' stop offering health insurance after 2014. In the wake of the Court's ruling, employers will have three options in coming years: maintain coverage and absorb cost increases, maintain coverage and pass on as many costs as possible to workers, or drop coverage and pay a penalty. Despite the court's ruling, I remain committed to working toward the repeal of this harmful law.
The House of Representatives will vote yet again to repeal the law in early July and immediately begin deliberate work to replace the law with free market reforms that truly improve access to quality and affordable care. Americans and their doctors, not federal bureaucrats and politicians, are in the best position to determine which health care options best meet their individual needs.


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