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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bondi says 'Obamacare' already having negative effect on businesses

28

November

Other Republican leaders in Florida may have softened their tone on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but not Attorney General Pam Bondi. Addressing business leaders at the Florida Chamber's Annual Insurance Summit via video, Bondi said the Supreme Court ruling in June allowed an unjust law to take effect.

She had the sharpest words for the individual mandate provision that Florida challenged but the high court upheld because the related penalties could be viewed as a tax.

"We all know this law would never have gotten through Congress if it had been sold as a new $4 billion tax on the American people," she said. "In this case, the Constitution’s limits on government power did not fail. Political accountability failed because the president and supporters of this law apparently were not straight with the American people."

Bondi also painted a grim picture for how the law is already beginning to impact Florida businesses.

"Unfortunately, national studies are already showing the negative effects that the healthcare law is having on businesses and our economy," she said. "Businesses across the country are raising their prices in order to compensate for their added costs due to Obama’s healthcare plan. If they aren’t raising prices, they’re cutting jobs as a result of the added cost, both of which hurt our economy."

After Bondi's video (we asked her office why she was unable to appear in person but didn't get a response UPDATE: She was attending the National Association of Attorneys General meeting in South Florida.), a panel that included a hospital system chief, insurance executive and business leader took a much more measured tone in discussing the impacts of the law on Florida and how lawmakers should proceed.

Read more about the panel discussion here.

Here is the full transcript of the portion of Bondi's speech focused on the Affordable Care Act:

“From the beginning we knew that the historic health care case would give all of us an education on some of the basic principles governing our Republic and on the fundamentals of our Constitution. We learned three important things from the healthcare ruling.

First, we learned that there are enforceable limits on Congress’s power under the commerce clause. As the majority opinion said, the federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. Now of course all of us are disappointed in the ultimate outcome, but we cannot lose sight of what we did accomplish. We fought for the principle that the Constitution limits Congress’ power to direct the lives of our people, and, on that point, we won.

Second, we learned that there are enforceable limits on Congress’ power to coerce the states through the use of spending power. Seven justices agreed with our position that Congress cannot force the states to make the unacceptable choice between losing all of our Medicaid benefits or accepting a massive, unaffordable expansion of the Medicaid program. This is a win for our taxpayers, now and in the future.

Third, we learned that our Republican system of government only works when our leaders are honest with the American people. Before Congress passed this health care law, President Obama stood in front of the public and told us that the insurance requirement was not backed by a tax. And yet we read the opinion that upholds the healthcare law on the basis of Congress’s taxing power. We all know this law would never have gotten through Congress if it had been sold as a new $4 billion tax on the American people. In this case, the Constitution’s limits on government power did not fail. Political accountability failed because the president and supporters of this law apparently were not straight with the American people.

Unfortunately, national studies are already showing the negative effects that the healthcare law is having on businesses and our economy. Businesses across the country are raising their prices in order to compensate for their added costs due to Obama’s healthcare plan. If they aren’t raising prices, they’re cutting jobs as a result of the added cost, both of which hurt our economy. According to a Mercer survey, more than 60 percent of employers expect the federal health care plan to increase their health costs. Twenty percent of those employers are bracing for at least a 5-percent increase in costs."

[Last modified: Thursday, November 29, 2012 8:41am]

    

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