Why I Am Fighting the Health-Care Law
Sometimes in life, you have to step up to the plate.
In 2010, Obamacare became a threat to small business and to the freedoms that Americans have always enjoyed. I decided it was my time to play in the major leagues, so I became a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by the National Federation of Independent Business. Now, we're waiting to hear from the biggest umpire in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court. I can't tell you how proud I am to play a part in this moment in American history.
For the past 10 years, I have worked day and night to build a business that can support my family and me. Running a small business is always risky, and in the economy of the last four years, it's even riskier. I see Obamacare as something that can finish off my dream—and the dreams of a lot of people like me.
There are a lot of things wrong with the health-care law. It means more taxes, more regulation, and lots more red tape. Some of these taxes and regulations apply only to small businesses and individuals, and not to big businesses, labor unions, and governments. The law hands my future over to bureaucrats in Washington. But most of all, Obamacare means the end of freedoms that every individual and business has known since the United States was founded.
That's why I'm in this thing.
Under this law, get a prescription and you'll pay a new tax. Buy a medical device, and you'll pay a different new tax. If your salary and investments rise enough, you'll pay two more new taxes. If a small business or individual buys health insurance, there's still another brand-new tax on that—but big businesses, labor unions, and governments are exempt. If I bought health insurance, I'd pay the tax, but the executives at General Motors wouldn't have to pay it. Neither would the bureaucrats who are cashing my tax checks and telling me to do all this paperwork.
There's a lot of that paperwork, too. Hire employees, and you'll fill out forms telling the government how much they earn, how much their insurance costs, how much you contribute to that insurance. With 50 or more employees, you'll fill out forms so the government can slap you with fines when one of them qualifies for a subsidy.
Sometimes, it's almost comical. The people who like Obamacare keep talking about a "small-business health-insurance tax credit" that's supposed to make it easier to afford insurance. If you're self-employed like me, it doesn't do anything for you. The government claims four million businesses might qualify, but only 160,000 have claimed the credit, and most of them haven't gotten much out of it. It doesn't much matter, though; the credit vanishes in a couple of years for everybody. And to get that credit, you have to fill in a pile of paperwork.
Right now, my business is just me, but I'd like to be able to hire others and to help them support their families. That was a tough ambition before this law passed. With Obamacare, it's the impossible dream.
When you run a small business, you spend a lot of time keeping the government at bay. The pressure never ends. Not a day goes by that I don't deal with some complex regulation that only a lawyer can understand or some tax that an accountant can't understand. Obamacare makes it worse.
For me, though, the loss of liberty is Obamacare's real threat. Never in history has the federal government ordered every American to buy a commercial product or be fined for failing to do so. If someone in Washington can order me to buy expensive insurance I do not want, then what freedom do I have left? That's the question the government's attorneys were asked by the Supreme Court justices, and that's the question they couldn't answer.
DAVE KLEMENCIC owns Ellenboro Floors in Ellenboro, West Virginia. He is one of two individual plaintifs in the National Federation of Independent Business's challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
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