(NN&V Staff) – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, took one legal broadside this week in a Virginia courtroom and tomorrow faces the biggest canon aimed at it when oral arguments against the law are heard by a U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida. The reverberations of any and all decisions will be felt profoundly in Nevada.
“Small businesses in Nevada are really struggling to afford health insurance, and this new law isn’t helping,” said Randi Thompson, Nevada state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, the only business association participating in the nationwide lawsuit.
“Instead of increasing options for business owners, the law is forcing some providers to discontinue selling insurance products to small groups all together. In some states, beginning next year, insurance carriers will stop selling new plans to small groups and will drop companies that are existing clients. This just isn’t the type of ‘reform’ our state’s job creators can stomach.”
NFIB and 20 states, including Nevada, are behind the national lawsuit challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, where oral arguments will be heard tomorrow in Florida.
According to Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, “Our arguments center on the fact that the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution does not give Congress the authority to pass the individual mandate. The federal government simply does not have the constitutional power to force anyone to purchase a certain product from another private citizen.
“The commerce power permits Congress to regulate activities that substantially relate to interstate commerce. It does not allow Congress to compel inactive individuals to engage in economic activity against their will. If the courts uphold the individual mandate, it would be an unprecedented overreach of power by Congress and would ultimately result in the destruction of many of our individual liberties and freedoms.”
In the Virginia case decision announced on Monday, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled that, indeed, the government doesn’t have the authority to require people to buy health insurance or pay a fine. But he stopped short of voiding the law, choosing instead to punt the final say to a higher court. NFIB’s case seeks to have the entire law declared unconstitutional and seeks to stop the government from enforcing the law until the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately settles this issue.
Governor-elect Brian Sandoval, a former federal judge, praised Judge Hudson’s decision and is supporting the Florida case. “As I’ve noted before, I see the constitutional question created by the health care bill as monumental in all future matters involving states’ rights,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal
“In a nutshell, while there might be a few good ideas in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there’s just too much bad, including compelling people to purchase something simply because they are alive,” said Thompson