All of the Independence Day celebrations last weekend reminded us of the
liberties that our founding fathers fought to obtain and that our
grandparents and parents fought to protect.
For good reason, Americans hold our freedoms of utmost importance. The
American dream of entrepreneurship, prosperity and limitless creative
ambition has become a reality for so many people. But this July 4th one
of our most core freedoms hangs in the balance – the freedom from the
government to force citizens to buy a certain product or participate in
any one part of commerce.
Three months ago, after nearly a year-long battle, Congress passed and
President Obama signed the healthcare bill into law. The nation needed
healthcare reform but this law was not the way to do it – in fact, this
law is unconstitutional.
The healthcare law infringes on every American’s right to purchase what
they please, including health insurance plans. The law forces Americans
to buy health insurance, whether they want to or not, or face a penalty
in the form of a fine. Our nation was not founded upon a government that
forces its own citizens to purchase something against their will or face
Maybe being forced to purchase health insurance doesn’t sound so bad to
you. But what about if the government forces you to buy vitamins or join
a gym or say that we can’t eat our BBQ on July 4th because it’s
unhealthy? If the courts uphold the healthcare law as it currently
stands, there is no limit to what the government will be able to mandate
This law is not only detrimental to our freedoms but also to our
businesses, particularly infringing on small business owners’ abilities
to manage the day-to-day operations of running their businesses. The
individual and employer mandates combined with the onslaught of new
taxes, paperwork requirements and new rules will dramatically increase
the cost of starting and running a small business. And while there are a
few provisions that may benefit a limited number of small businesses,
the overall effect of the law will do much more harm to small businesses
Where’s the potential for the American dream there? It’s quite
Small businesses drive the U.S. economy and are responsible for
two-thirds of the net new jobs created over the past decade. A law that
harms small business harms the entire nation. Small business deserve
better than a healthcare law that was rushed through the legislative
process, ignored the Constitution, and ultimately will destroy jobs and
force some small businesses to close their doors. Along with 20 states,
NFIB is fighting to overturn this legislation and protect our nation’s
freedoms through a lawsuit against the healthcare law.
NFIB has fought for healthcare reform for decades but expanding coverage
by chipping away at the freedoms afforded to individuals and small
business owners in the Constitution is unacceptable.
Mandates from a central government authority that forced the people to
behave or act in certain ways were exactly what we won our independence
from over 200 years ago. Let’s not go back.
Kevin Shivers is the state director for the small-business group NFIB.
Kevin Shivers | NFIB | State Director – Pennsylvania
116 Pine St., Suite 204 | Harrisburg, PA | 17101
Ph. 717.232.8582 | Fax 717.232.4098 | NFIB.com/PA
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