“Staffing firms urged Congress Thursday to repeal the healthcare law’s requirement that employers provide insurance for their workers — even as they continue working with federal regulators to tweak the law.”

“A new study by the Small Business Administration shows the health insurance tax credit, effective starting in the 2010 tax year, may not be enough incentive for small businesses to offer their employees health care. Only about two-thirds — 2.6 million of the 4 million eligible small businesses — will benefit from the health insurance tax credit included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, according to the study.”

“This afternoon, the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania became the latest court to strike down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (Obamacare) individual mandate, holding that ‘[t]he power to regulate interstate commerce does not subsume the power to dictate a lifetime financial commitment to health insurance coverage.’ The challenge was brought by a Barbara Goudy-Bachman and Gregory Bachman, who are both self-employed and have chosen to drop their health insurance because it exceeded their monthly mortgage payments. Instead, Bachmans opted to pay for health care out of pocket. The Administration, unless it wants to concede that Obamacare is unconstitutional, will have to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.”

“The latest rulings focused only on judicial procedure and not on the merits of the law, leaving a split decision between the Sixth and Eleventh circuits on the actual constitutionality of the individual mandate. (The Sixth Circuit in Michigan said the individual mandate can stand because it is important to the overall working of the law. The Eleventh Circuit — in which 26 states are challenging the law – disagreed and said the individual mandate is not only unconstitutional but ‘is breathtaking in its expansive scope.’)”

“One provision of the new healthcare law is a 2.3% excise tax on the medical device industry which will take effect in 2013. This study estimates the potential effect of the device tax on employment in the medical device industry. The study finds that the tax could reduce employment in the industry by cutting back on the demand for medical devices and by encouraging American firms to shift production overseas.”

“Lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday to remove restrictions on tax-exempt health spending accounts, the latest provision of the healthcare reform law to come under attack by Democrats.
The bill would nix a provision that since January has required a prescription for buying over-the-counter medicines with medical savings accounts such as Flexible Spending Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts. The language was added as a way to keep the bill’s costs down because it was estimated to save $5 billion over 10 years by cutting down on unnecessary drug purchases.”

“It is three years before most of the new health-care law kicks in, but already some of America’s largest employers are peppering the Internal Revenue Service with concerns that making the changes will be far more complex than they anticipated. At issue is one of the law’s central requirements: employers with 50 or more full-time workers must offer affordable insurance or pay a penalty. It sounds simple enough. But in crafting the rules, the IRS and two other federal agencies are now tackling basic yet messy questions, such as who counts as a full-time worker and how do companies measure whether insurance is ‘affordable.'”

“The 2010 health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), hits small business with a barrage of inequities. Among the most egregious is the health insurance tax (HIT) launched by the law’s Section 9010. Ostensibly a tax on insurers, its real effect will be hundreds of billions of dollars of taxation on people who purchase coverage in the fully-insured market – mostly small business employers and employees and the self-employed. These are the people who usually generate around two-thirds of America’s new jobs.”

“House appropriators on Thursday approved a $19.9 billion financial services spending bill for 2012 that prohibits the federal government from enforcing the healthcare reform law’s requirement that individuals buy insurance.”

“A divided American Medical Association will consider withdrawing its support of a key tenet of the health overhaul law that requires Americans to purchase an insurance plan. The Chicago-based national doctors group, which represents nearly a quarter-million physicians, is being asked by several medical societies within the organization to change its stance in favor of the ‘individual mandate.'”