By Representative Robert Andrews
In mere days, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the legal justification of President Obama's healthcare law, specifically the constitutionality of mandating American citizens purchase health insurance. The legal challenge brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business is a critical test to protect states' rights and prevent an overreach by the federal government into the lives of every citizen. I strongly support their legal challenge and sincerely hope the Supreme Court finds that the healthcare law fails the constitutional test.
Two years ago, the issue of healthcare reform was not only debated in Congress, but in boardrooms, break rooms and kitchen tables across the country. A bipartisan bill never materialized; a consensus was never agreed to. However, Democrat majorities in Congress unilaterally passed a bill and President Obama proudly signed it into law. Since then, consumers and employers have struggled to understand its impact on their lives and their businesses. Many of the tax increases and penalties have yet to take effect while new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office conclude the final price-tag will exceed $2 trillion -- more than double what was initially reported.
Many members of Congress recognize the excessive taxes, penalties, fees and service reductions coming down the line as the healthcare law is fully implemented. With bipartisan support, Congress has already repealed the small business reporting mandate known as the 1099 provision and has rescinded billions of dollars in proposed health slush funds. Likewise, the House will soon consider bipartisan legislation that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), one of more than 100 panels of unelected bureaucrats created by the healthcare law that will have the sole, unchecked power to make reductions in healthcare services based on costs, not treatments. While this is progress, the consequences of every provision within the 2,000 page law are still unknown.
What is known, however, is that public support has only decreased. In countless public surveys and independent reports, findings show significant uncertainty and anxiety. I continue to hear great skepticism from our local healthcare professionals, our local Chambers of Commerce, our small business owners, and our seniors. I've spoken with many South Jersey family-owned businesses who are looking at their finances and fearing hikes in health premiums or penalties assessed by the IRS. As additional information comes to light, more questions and justified concerns arise.
Making healthcare more accessible and affordable are clearly shared goals that everyone can agree with. But reaching a consensus that the majority of the American people can support is equally vital. President Obama's healthcare law has already been struck down by the court of public opinion. It is too intrusive into the lives of every South Jersey resident and too burdensome to our employers who want to do right by their employees without bankrupting their business. It inserts Washington bureaucrats in-between doctors and patients. And it grants the federal government unprecedented and unconstitutional powers over the American people. It is time for the Supreme Court to strike down the President's healthcare law.
Note: Congressman LoBiondo has always paid for his own healthcare insurance, and has never accepted the taxpayer-funded plan offered to Members of Congress.