Monday, March 28, 2011

Cole: A Year Later, Obamacare Is A Job Killer

By Congressman Tom Cole

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the passage of Obamacare into law, and opposition among the nation's employers remains as strong as ever.

Nancy Pelosi's infamous comment that Congress would "have to pass the bill so that we find out what is in it" underscores the fact that the more job creators learn about it, the more they dislike it.

Even business leaders who originally supported Obamacare now publically oppose it. The latest is Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who was one of a group of business leaders consulted by the White House.

In a recent interview, Schultz commented that he "was very supportive of the president's plan" last year but now believes that "under the current guidelines, the pressure on small businesses, because of the mandate, is too great."

Small business leaders agree. A Maryland bowling alley operator recently announced plans to cut its number of full-time employees in order to limit the damage of Obamacare's requirement that businesses with at least 50 employees must comply with the law's expensive coverage mandates or face fines of $2000 per employee.

As one company official said, "We can either continue to grow at a fast rate and create an enormous amount of jobs or we can bear the cost of this health care bill and pay for all this insurance. But we cannot do both.”

Those concerns are echoed by a Fort Lauderdale small business owner, who vowed to "stay below 50 employees no matter what, because that's the threshold where health care reform's employer mandate kicks in."

The company president explained to reporters that he simply can't afford the kind of coverage required by Obamacare.

In countless examples just like these, employers are stating as plainly as possible that the health care law is the enemy of job creation.

Considering that we've spent almost two years now with an unemployment rate near or above 9 percent, it defies comprehension that the president and his party continue to support a law that directly raises costs for each new employee.

President Obama pushed through a $787 billion stimulus package that failed to reduce unemployment, but he refuses to consider canceling one of the single biggest barriers to job creation: his health care law.

House Republicans passed a total repeal of the law as one of our first orders of business this year. On a subsequent spending bill, we approved nine separate amendments to prevent funds necessary to implement the policy. Both of these measures died in the Democratically controlled Senate. But we remain undeterred.

The committees with jurisdiction over Obamacare have held 13 hearings so far to explore ways to block and create sensible alternatives to various aspects of the law, and we have successfully repealed the burdensome Form 1099 reporting requirements that promised a costly paperwork nightmare for small businesses.

The No. 1 comment I hear from constituents continues to be "repeal Obamacare." I can assure Oklahomans that, one year after its passage, Republicans continue fighting on every front to do just that.

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