While Washington engaged in faux drama of shutdown-and-defund in October, one Boca Raton doctor did more than any D.C. politician to challenge Obama’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
Dr. Larry Kawa, an orthodontist who lives in South Florida, filed suit “against the U.S. Department of Treasury, Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, the Internal Revenue Service and IRS Acting Director Daniel Werfel challenging the Obama administration’s decision to delay the enactment of the so-called ‘employer mandate’ provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act,” said Judicial Watch in a press release.
Judicial Watch, a legal watchdog that investigates charges of public corruption, is litigating on behalf of Kawa.
“In the ACA,” says Kawa, “it says in no uncertain terms the effective date of the employers mandate shall be January 1st 2014 and somehow the president, on the first day of an eight day long trip to Africa, decides that he is going to…waive the employer mandate apart from the will of Congress, which of course he has no legal authority to do.”
One of the difficulties thus far in suing the administration over Obamacare has been the lack of judicial “standing.” “Standing” is when a party can prove that it has been affected by legislation in a way that translates into economic damages. But the “standing” issue however seems to have been addressed now: The good doctor isn’t just a healthcare provider. He’s also a businessman who has spent considerable money preparing to implement the “employer mandate” in his own business, for his own employees.
And it’s as a businessman that he seeking injunctive relief from the courts, asking them to force the implementation of all provisions of Obamacare, just as Congress directed under the Act.
According to Judicial Watch, Kawa says that he “expended substantial time and resources, including money spent on legal fees and other costs, in preparation for the ‘employer mandate’ taking effect on January 1, 2014.”
“The president wants to avoid the consequences of his own law, but there are ways to do that legally,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said.
“We don’t believe there is any discretion for the president to [delay the implementation of the employer mandate] and we’re asking for the courts to intervene and uphold the rule of law,” continued Fitton. “And to paraphrase Ulysses S. Grant, the best way to ensure the repeal of a bad law is to enforce it vigorously.”
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the one-year delay in implementing the employer mandate will cost the federal government $12 billion in federal revenues and other additional expenses. Even the rosiest scenarios from the administration estimated that Obamacare would only save about $100 billion dollars to the federal budget over ten years. The effect therefore of the one-year delay is to scrap more than one years of savings.
To put these figures in perspective, it currently costs about $10 billion per day to keep the federal government open and operating. During the 16-day shutdown of the federal government only 17% of the government was affected, at my estimate of $9.4 billion savings to U.S. taxpayers for the entire shutdown. Of course, much of that savings was remediated when Congress paid federal workers for the 16-day vacation.
By liberal math, however, $12 billion in lost tax revenues to the federal government by delaying the employer mandate is no big deal, while $ 9.4 billion in savings to taxpayers—less if you add in remediated wages—is a crime of the worst order, costing the economy “billions” in economic growth.
Most of the research regarding the delay in Obamacare, however, only speaks to costs in government revenue. And many analysts ignore entirely—or trivialize—the cost to business of the delay in the mandate.
“It’s been uttered by every opponent of health care reform: Obamacare will kill small businesses,” CNN/Money’s Jose Pagliery wrote before the decision to delay the company mandate. “But the new law’s rules don’t apply to the vast majority of small businesses. The employer mandate, which forces firms to start providing insurance in 2014, pertains only to companies with at least 50 full-time workers. That’s a tiny fraction of small businesses.”
Maybe, but a billion here, and billion there and we begin to start talking about real money.
According to Pagliery, there are 5.7 million small business employers of which about 3% or 171,000 have 50 employees or fewer. Kawa claims that his costs for gearing up for the employer mandate in 2014 were $5,000. Assuming that similar companies have similar costs, it amounts to $855 million dollars in lost expenses in 2014, most of which Kawa contends he’ll have to re-expense for the 2015 Big Company mandate re-rollout.
That comes out to about 17,000 mean paying jobs for firms who struggle to be able to afford to make new hires. And where do liberals think big companies come from?
The big company fairy?
Big and medium sized companies start from smaller companies who scrap and struggle. The idea is to make it easier, not harder, for them to hire and grow.
Of course, the Obama administration treats jobs like they are so many brain cells at a rock concert, to be disposed of, because, hey, there’s more where they came from.
But there aren’t really. There are barely enough jobs to keep up with population growth.
If we don’t treat small business better, jobs creation will continue to struggle.
“About a year and half ago I decided I had had enough and became a strong conservative. Before that I was more of a watcher than a doer,” says Kawa explaining his decision to sue the government. “The activist is not the one who says the river is dirty, he’s the one who cleans up the river. And I realized it was time for me to clean up the river.”
This article appears by permission of Townhall Magazine where it appeared under Obamacare's River of Trouble for Businesses