By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to largely uphold President Barack Obama’s health care law caught Ron Aldridge off-guard.
“We’re very surprised,” said Aldridge, the state director of National Federation of Independent Business’ Mississippi chapter. The NFIB joined Mississippi and 25 other states in challenging the law.
Aldridge said he thought they had made a compelling case against “Obamacare.”
“The legal battle may be over,” Aldridge said, “now its up to the legislative and regulatory arena. Congress will take steps to undo some of the burdens on small businesses, and much of the law must go before regulatory bodies.”
Aldridge warned that the new law would discourage businesses from expanding and hiring more workers because of new taxes – supporters of the law refer to them as penalties – being placed on them.
“This is a tough blow for small businesses,” he said. “We’ve gone from uncertainty and fear to now more certainty of the fear for the future.”
The health care law will limit opportunities for businesses with higher taxes and mandates, he added.
“The power and control of health care decisions should be in the hands of the consumer, not the government,” he said.
Reaction from other business groups was similar.
The National Retail Federation said it, too, was disappointed with the ruling.
“As the voice of retailers of all types and sizes, we’re disappointed by today’s ruling,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The court missed an opportunity to redress the many shortcomings of the law.
“As it stands, the law wrongly focuses more on penalizing employers and the private sector than reducing health costs. For these reasons, NRF has been a consistent skeptic of the Affordable Care Act.
Shay said that while the Supreme Court upheld the law’s constitutionality, it “doesn’t do enough to reduce the cost of health care” and “it is unreasonably complicated and difficult to implement and administer.”
UnitedHealth Group, a health insurance company which uses the HealthLink PPO in Northeast Mississippi, said in a statement that health care modernization “did not begin and must not end” with the new law.
“UnitedHealth Group strongly supports making high-quality health care accessible and affordable for everyone, and now is the time to apply proven ideas and best practices to build a better health care system.”