The Supreme Court today upheld the individual mandate as a valid exercise of federal taxing authority, leaving in place the 2010 federal healthcare law. The result is that nothing has changed; the federal healthcare act remains the law of the land and state officials are moving full speed ahead with its implementation.
The Maryland Chamber didn’t have a quarrel with the individual mandate. In fact we supported state legislation for several years as part of our business agenda that would have encouraged individuals to purchase health insurance. Likewise, we have supported the establishment of the state health exchange and worked with state officials on its implementation. The federal law has also had the beneficial effect of putting the brakes on new health insurance mandates at the state level by requiring states to pay for new health insurance services that they require.
Our concerns with the federal law and state implementation have been that it appears to accelerate health care spending, rather than bending down the cost curve. The law does nothing to protect healthcare providers from lawsuits, which results in billions of dollars in defensive medicine. Every employer that offers health insurance will have significant costs in complying with federal and state regulations and reporting requirements. Small employers will not be enticed to offer health insurance based on the modest and complicated federal tax credit.