Consistent with the National Restaurant Association's strong concern about the impact of the health care law on the restaurant industry -- particularly the employer mandate that takes effect in 2014 -- the Association Jan. 6 submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court asking judges not to let related provisions of the law proceed if justices rule that the law's "individual mandate" is unconstitutional.
The Association's amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief argues that the Supreme Court should prevent the rest of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from proceeding if justices rule that PPACA’s requirement that individuals obtain health insurance is unconstitutional.
The Association sided with 26 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Business, who filed the case.
Starting in 2014, PPACA will require all Americans to obtain health insurance and will require large employers to either offer health insurance to full-time employees or pay penalties.
The NRA said that the requirements for the restaurant industry under PPACA’s employer mandate would become even more problematic if the law is allowed to move forward in the absence of the individual mandate. "The demographics of the restaurant workforce and the characteristics of most restaurant employers means the industry would be subject to a particularly negative impact if the individual mandate is severed from the rest of the Act," according to the NRA brief.
"PPACA’s goal was to make health care more affordable. If the Act is implemented without the individual mandate it would affirmatively place small employers, and their employees, in a worse position than they were before passage of the Act," the NRA argued. The NRA said that health care costs would increase so much that many small employers will not be able to offer their employees any coverage -- and measures that PPACA's proponents claim will cut costs for businesses unde the law would be rendered largely useless.
The U.S. high court will hear the case in late March and is expected to issue a decision by June.