AUGUSTA (January 11, 2011) The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Americas advocate for small businesses, urged Maine to join the organization and 20 other states in a federal case to overturn the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The federal health care law violates the constitution and threatens to destroy small businesses, said NFIB Maine Director David Clough. Our members believe that the current system is badly in need of reform, but we cannot sacrifice our constitutional liberties for a law that actually makes the system far worse for small businesses.
At the heart of the lawsuit is a challenge to the constitutionality of the so-called individual mandate, which for the first time in history allows the federal government to order Americans to purchase government approved health insurance.
If the federal government can force private citizens to buy healthcare, then theres no limit on its power to force us to do anything else, said Clough.
The way to improve our health care system, according to Clough, is to enact reforms that permit interstate competition, reduce lawsuits and offer more choices to consumers.
The law is already distorting healthcare markets and causing premiums to rise, said Clough. It raises taxes on small businesses and imposes heavy-handed regulatory requirements that discourage investment and job creation. We need to start over with a system that promotes consumer choice, portability and market-based competition.
Attorneys representing NFIB and 20 states presented oral arguments in this case last month in federal district court in Pensacola, Florida. A decision is expected soon, after which most experts agree that the case will work its way to the United States Supreme Court. Clough said that Governor Paul LePage, a lifelong businessman and former NFIB member, and state Attorney General William Schneider, should support Maine joining the suit.
Its important for Maine to join the fight, said Clough. Our members have been especially hard hit in this recession and they cannot afford the mandates, taxes and penalties that are imposed by this law.