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Guest opinion: ObamaCare: Bad Medicine for Southwest Florida

April 26, 2010
By Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14)

President Obama and the Democrats in Congress wrongly believe that increasing government control and ownership over many parts of our economy including the auto industry, the financial sector and now health care will rescue our economy from this recession. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One needs to look no further than right here in Southwest Florida to see the devastating effect that Big Government policies can have on small businesses and the local economy.

Marine Concepts, a boat manufacturing company located in Cape Coral, has grown over the past two decades to become a leader in the manufacturing industry and a major force in Southwest Florida's economy.

When Bob Long purchased the company in 1994, he had 14 employees and struggled to make ends meet. Instead of keeping his profits, Bob reinvested his earnings back into his company and was eventually able to expand his operations and employ over 130 workers.

Over the past several years, however, Marine Concepts has struggled with many of the same challenges that other small businesses throughout Southwest Florida, and indeed the nation, have faced: a lack of available capital, high taxes, and increasingly burdensome federal, state, and local regulations and mandates.

Last year, despite losing money, Marine Concepts still paid over $560,000 in taxes, including Medicare and Social Security taxes, state and federal unemployment taxes, personal property tax, real estate tax, and sales tax. While the government continues to hire new bureaucrats, this Cape Coral company has had to reduce its employees by 50 percent and shut down two plants, all on top of cutting back on employee benefits and performance bonuses. What's more, Marine Concepts is reluctant to invest without knowing what future government mandates will be imposed on small businesses like theirs.

But sadly, under the new health care plan that President Obama signed into law last month, Marine Concepts will face even higher taxes and stiffer mandates. President Obama's plan creates a new tax on jobs by forcing employers who do not provide "acceptable" coverage to pay a "fair share" tax of $2,000 per full-time employee with the government dictating what is acceptable coverage and what is not.

With unemployment in Southwest Florida averaging more than 13 percent, we shouldn't be adding more taxes and more regulation on small business owners like Bob Long. It's small businesses like Marine Concepts that create jobs and will help to jumpstart our economy because as we all know, more taxes and more regulation will ultimately lead to more unemployment.

The new health care law is yet another example of the Big Government policies that President Obama and the Democratic Leadership in Congress continue to impose on an unwilling public.

In fact, this government takeover of health care goes against everything that defines our nation: freedom, free markets, and individual liberty.

Under the new health care law, Americans will face higher taxes, rationed care, and, most alarmingly, a loss of individual freedoms the freedom to choose the health care that's right for you and your family.

The plan takes away our inherent freedom to live our lives as we see fit. Under ObamaCare, every individual must purchase insurance whether one wants it or not or pay a steep penalty.

Never before has Washington imposed such onerous and, in my opinion, unconstitutional mandates on the American people, such as requiring individuals to purchase government-approved health insurance. And never before has Washington enacted legislation that will fundamentally alter the relationship between patients and their doctors.

If you think it's difficult now to schedule an appointment with your doctor, wait until ObamaCare takes effect. With millions of new patients now added to the system and scarcely enough primary care doctors to handle the influx, this law will lead to rationed care. Recent reports indicate that the United States will see a shortfall of roughly 40,000 primary care physicians over the next decade. The problem is especially dire in Florida, where nearly 50 percent of our state's practicing physicians are over the age of 50 and nearing retirement.

This flawed health care plan is long on Big Government problems and short on free-market solutions. President Obama and the Congressional Democrats' "government knows best" mentality will be disastrous for us all.

There's no question that our health care system needs serious reform, but this law is not the way to do it. That's why I've introduced legislation that will repeal the health care law (H.R. 4919, the Revoke Excessive Policies that Encroach on American Liberties (REPEAL) Act).

By repealing this law, we can start over and enact real reforms based on free-market ideas that are supported by a majority of Americans, such as: substantial medical malpractice reform; association health plans; health savings accounts; tax incentives for those who purchase insurance; allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines; and improving transparency in health care costs. These reforms will allow Americans to become informed consumers of their health care, just like we are in every other aspect of our lives.

We can't afford to mortgage our children's and grandchildren's futures and surrender our personal freedoms under this flawed law. Repeal it, and start over.



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