Trade groups want to halt reform law until courts decide

A group of more than 250 trade associations are backing a senator’s plan to halt healthcare reform implementation until legal challenges are completely settled.

The StartOver! Coalition, which includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, says it is “prudent” to block implementation efforts as the courts hash out the constitutionality of healthcare reform.

While three federal judges have upheld the law’s requirement for individuals to purchase insurance, two have struck it down. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in January struck down the entire law, but allowed implementation to continue.

“If [Vinson's] decision is upheld, state governments which have proceeded with implementation facing considerable risks if they do not do so, will have needlessly expended considerable sums of their taxpayers’ money,” the trade groups wrote. “It is no small matter that employers find themselves similarly and expensively caught between a judicial ruling that invalidates the [Affordable Care Act] and an Administration in Washington, D.C. that insists on plowing ahead with implementation as though this matter had never arisen.”

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is sponsoring an amendment on a small-business bill that would halt the law’s implementation until the courts have their final say. Thirty-six GOP senators have signed on to Hutchison’s amendment.