My first thought on perusing the briefs filed in the combined cases was to notice what wasn’t there: any involvement on the part of Corporate America.
For the past 20 years, big business has complained endlessly about escalating health-care premiums, which they correctly blamed on “cost-shifting,” including paying indirectly for the free care provided to the workers at firms that did not provide health benefits. They wanted an end to fee-for-service medicine that rewarded doctors for providing more care than necessary. Some even talked of reforms that would begin to move the country away from an employer-based insurance system.
Yet despite the fact that “Obamacare” did all of those things and more, there was not a single brief in support of the law from an organization representing big business.
Small businesses have spent the past two decades complaining that the reason they don’t offer coverage is that it’s too expensive because they don’t get the large-group and community rating advantage. So how did the National Federation of Independent Businesses respond to a law that assured small businesses the benefits of large-group purchasing and community rating and threw in billions of dollars in subsidies to boot? It signed up as one of the named plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the new law.
It’s hard to know what the business community will demand if the Supreme Court overturns the health-care law. At that point, however, it will hardly matter, since they will have lost all political credibility on the issue, particularly with the Obama White House and anyone who happens to be a Democrat.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Steve Pearlstein: Why we should tell Corporate America to drop dead...
From Eat your broccoli, Justice Scalia, published on March 31st: