One of Health Care Reform's Biggest Foes May Soon Be a Customer

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Health Care Reform Supreme Court Case Recently, supporters of President Obama's health care law got a major boost when one of the program's prominent opponents, Mary Brown of Florida, lost her business. According to The Wall Street Journal, Brown, whose standing to sue is integral to the case against Obama's health care reforms that was headed to the Supreme Court, may be forced to abandon her legal challenge.

The health care reform program, often referred to as Obamacare by its opponents, comprises both the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Among other things, those laws will extend health insurance to 30 million uninsured citizens, making it the largest single expansion of the social safety net since Medicare was created in 1965. It is also one of the most controversial: Currently, 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business have a case challenging the program heading to the Supreme Court. Two private citizens -- Brown and Washington state resident Kaj Ahlburg -- are also key participants in the suit.

Ahlburg, a retired investment banker, claims that he can pay for his health care out of pocket, and doesn't need insurance. According to him, the new law's individual mandate, which requires him to buy health insurance starting in 2014, or risk being hit with a $695 fine, is unconstitutional.

Brown's argument is different. The former owner of Brown & Dockery, a Panama City-based automotive repair shop, she would have been required by the health care reform law to provide insurance for her three employees -- again, starting in 2014. Brown claimed that this would harm her business, as she would have to use her company's operating funds to fulfill the insurance requirement.

Implicit in Brown's argument was the idea that raising her company's overhead would hurt its viability, ultimately putting her out of business. In August, however, that argument was rendered moot as Brown and her husband had to close down the shop and file for personal bankruptcy. In their paperwork the pair claimed almost $63,000 in debts, most of which were tied to her business.

Brown's bankruptcy could make it impossible for her to have her case argued before the Supreme Court. The court generally requires "standing": Plaintiffs contesting a law must be able to demonstrate that they are materially harmed by the law in question. Now that she's no longer going to held responsible for buying her employees' health insurance, Brown would seem to have lost standing -- and her standing was fundamental to the case having come this far.

On one level, Brown's money woes prove her point, demonstrating the paper-thin profit margins of many companies -- and their incredible susceptibility to recession and other economic problems. Brown & Dockery faced falling revenues due to the recession, as well as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which devastated the economy in her area.

On another level, Brown's situation also shows why Obama's health care coverage expansion was so necessary. Financially strapped and unemployed since August, Brown now relies on government-funded unemployment payments to keep her head above water. If the the new insurance rules were already in full effect, she could scratch health care off her list of worries.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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Adele

In April, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid. And this month, even Democrats on the so-called Super Committee have offered deep cuts to these vital programs.
Essentially, Republicans in Congress are telling senior citizens and the poor that tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires are more important than providing a health care safety net for our most vulnerable.
But did you know that members of Congress get great taxpayer-funded health care? In fact, they have one of the best health care plans in the world.
It strikes us as the height of hypocrisy to be accepting government-provided, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance while denying seniors, the disabled, and the poor the basic coverage that Medicare and Medicaid provide.
That's why we're circulating this petition demanding that members of Congress who voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid stop accepting taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for themselves. If they believe our most vulnerable citizens should buy insurance on the corporate, for-profit market, shouldn't they do the same?
The petition is addressed to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and says:
If you voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid, you must stop accepting taxpayer-funded health care for yourself and your family.
Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=267956&id=33102-6848842-pVDIb4x&t=2

December 11 2011 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Adele's comment
savemycountry911

Get your facts straight. Stop the smoke and mirrors.

December 11 2011 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adele

In April, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid. And this month, even Democrats on the so-called Super Committee have offered deep cuts to these vital programs.
Essentially, Republicans in Congress are telling senior citizens and the poor that tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires are more important than providing a health care safety net for our most vulnerable.
But did you know that members of Congress get great taxpayer-funded health care? In fact, they have one of the best health care plans in the world.
It strikes us as the height of hypocrisy to be accepting government-provided, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance while denying seniors, the disabled, and the poor the basic coverage that Medicare and Medicaid provide.
That's why we're circulating this petition demanding that members of Congress who voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid stop accepting taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for themselves. If they believe our most vulnerable citizens should buy insurance on the corporate, for-profit market, shouldn't they do the same?
The petition is addressed to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and says:
If you voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid, you must stop accepting taxpayer-funded health care for yourself and your family.
Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=267956&id=33102-6848842-pVDIb4x&t=2

December 11 2011 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Adele's comment
savemycountry911

moveon.org is a commie web site.

December 11 2011 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to savemycountry911's comment
Adele

What is our point. ? The remarks I posted apparently were not of interest to you... and that was why are we paying for a Medicalo Program for our representatives if they say it is so - o - Bad.
Y9u make comments and you have no idea what you are even saying. Go get your baby blanket and have a nice time. Leave comments to people that are out of grade school.

December 18 2011 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
dsnrntrng

By the way, obamacare didn't reign in the trial lawyers and their big lawsuits which is a huge cost to the medical industry. Another, hmmmmm. They make big payoffs. Insurance companies are not making the percentage of what MF global made.

December 11 2011 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dsnrntrng

Dodd Frank, obama's new epa regulations, and obamacare have wrecked the economy. Very sad. By the way, dodd frank was supposed to fix all the ills of Wall St. so why did democrat and obama support Corzine (head of MF global) get away with 1.2 billion and let his company fail? Hmmmm.

December 11 2011 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dsnrntrng's comment
Adele

JEES, MAN, imagine how much better you would feel if you actually knew what you were talking about,.
You could benefit greatly by your facts straight, maybe even show a little bit of intelligence.

December 11 2011 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Adele's comment
savemycountry911

A little bit of intelligence like you Adele?...................very little.

December 11 2011 at 9:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
toney

So, these folk can't run a repair shop but are trying to tell the President what to do. Obama, Mitt, Newt, Paul are all rich;
you are poor. Try to get your personal situation stable first, politics later.

December 10 2011 at 6:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toney's comment
savemycountry911

If they are so smart why have the rich wrecked the economy?

December 10 2011 at 9:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to savemycountry911's comment
savemycountry911

No, I'm not a Socialist. Those in power are always rich.

December 10 2011 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
cernerusa

Obamacare will not be the healthcare you are used to. We could solve our healthcare problem tomorrow if everyone just did what we all know is right....exercise, sleep 8 hours per day, maintain your weight in the correct range and eat a balanced diet. In 1985 it was "news" that the Chicago Bears had a 300lb lineman...now some American women weigh that much....or much more.

December 09 2011 at 7:18 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cernerusa's comment
savemycountry911

If it were only a perfect world................

December 09 2011 at 8:27 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Al

I wonder if the writer is actually correct (or just "swaying" the story). Typically, the owner of a company can not collect unemployment...even though they have to pay into the system.
And...to respond to Tom... the country has lost it's mind to allow our politicians to run this country into the ground. They exempt themselves from the laws they pass (i.e. insider trading, fraud (SSN) etc). They spend our money like they inherited it (or won it in a lottery). the level of corruption is desgraceful.
And...we support these journalist that choose to (try to) "make a difference" instead of report events as they actually happen.
Are you a journalist or a fiction author Bruce?

December 09 2011 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Harrell

This country has Lost its Mind.
This woman is suing because of something that COULD POSSIBLY happen if Obamacare were enacted.
She lost everything because of the BP OIL SPILL and she hasn't uttered a PEEP about suing BP.
I'm just wondering what kind of Business woman she is and if she can't run her own business then what makes her think she can advise any one else on how to run their own lives ?

December 09 2011 at 7:39 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
shar6jo

What has happen to journalism in this country are they all yes men anymore. Why do all articles always favor socialist policies produced by the progressive in politics. Obama is being allowed by congress to overreach his constitutional powers and it needs to be stopped by journalist.

December 08 2011 at 7:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shar6jo's comment
janswizz

That would be the yes men of the liberal left Huffington Post.

December 08 2011 at 8:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
matt_tet@yahoo.com

Seek Tall lovers on -- Tall m ingle.Сσм --, a nice club for tall people to date.

December 08 2011 at 4:22 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to matt_tet@yahoo.com's comment
savemycountry911

Discriminating against short people?

December 08 2011 at 8:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply