National Federation of Independent Business: Wisconsin small business cheers ruling in federal health care challenge

Contact: Bill G. Smith at (608) 255-6083

Jack Mozloom at (609) 989-8777

Madison (January 31, 2011) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) applauded a ruling in federal court today overturning the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Bill G. Smith, the organization’s state Director, said the decision is a major victory for small businesses in Wisconsin.

“The mandates, penalties and regulatory burdens imposed by this law are costly and confusing to Wisconsin small businesses,” said Smith. “We are very pleased by the judge’s ruling today and we are confident that higher courts will agree that the law is an unprecedented and unconstitutional power-grab by the federal government.”

NFIB is the only business organization in the country to have joined 20 states in a lawsuit against the measure. Since NFIB filed its case, six more states, including Wisconsin, have joined, meaning that a majority of states now reject the federal law as an intrusion into their constitutional rights. While costs to small businesses are staggering, the organization’s main objection focuses on the so-called individual mandate.

“The federal government has no authority in the Constitution to mandate that private citizens purchase a commercial service or product,” said Smith. “If the federal government can order people to buy insurance, then it can order people to do virtually anything else it considers appropriate. Wisconsin small businesses do not want to be ordered into commercial contracts by strangers in Washington, DC.”

Karen Harned, Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, said the law violates the Constitution because it concentrates too much power into the hands of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington.

“NFIB is extremely pleased with Judge Vinson’s decision,” said Harned. “NFIB joined this case to protect the rights of small-business owners to own, operate and grow their businesses free from unnecessary government intervention. The individual mandate, which forces citizens to purchase government approved health insurance, undermines this core principle and gives the federal government entirely too much power. We are delighted Judge Vinson agreed with NFIB and the states on this critical issue.”

In his decision, Judge Vinson ruled that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to force citizens to purchase health insurance:

 “Because the plaintiffs maintain that an individual’s failure to purchase health insurance is, almost by definition, “inactivity,” the individual mandate goes beyond the Commerce Clause and is unconstitutional.” Page 13

“In every Supreme Court case decided thus far, Congress was not seeking to regulate under its commerce power something that could even arguably be said to be “passive inactivity.” Page 41

“It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause.”

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.” Page 76.

“On behalf of small-business owners nationwide, NFIB is determined to overturn this unconstitutional law. Today’s decision represents the first significant legal victory on our way to having the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately strike down this law in its entirety,” said Harned.


NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. More information can be found at