The National Federation of Independent Business is joining governors and attorneys general in the legal challenge to President Obama's health care plan. The NFIB argues that it is unconstitutional to force Americans to buy health care simply because they are alive. As discussed in a prior post, the legal challenge to the constitutionality of the healthcare reform law is being spearheaded by Florida Attorney General, Bill McCollum.
The NFIB, with a membership of 350,000, has a powerful group of activists across the country. After the health care bill passed, many NFIB members became concerned and the group has been planning a counter-strategy. "The second the law was signed, NFIB was hearing from its members: 'What are you all going to do about this?'" said senior NFIB lawyer Karen Harned. "So we hunkered down. We looked around. This state attorneys general lawsuit made the most sense for us. It's the only one that has a national presence."
As of 2014, individuals who do not purchase health care will receive a tax penalty, with some exceptions. Businesses with more than 50 employees will have to contribute to their worker's health insurance.
The new law allows government "to regulate you just because you exist," said NFIB president Dan Danner. "If you can regulate this, where do you stop? Do you tell people, "'We are going to mandate that everybody exercise?'"
While there is clearly a genuine debate over the wisdom of President Obama's health care law, the legal challenge has a political element beyond the law. Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee law school, interviewed by the AP, fails to see merit in the legal challenges. "These are not really legal cases -- they are political statements."