NRF Urges Congress to Repeal Flawed Health Care Reform Law
WASHINGTON, January 18, 2011 – The National Retail Federation today urged the House to support a vote to repeal last year’s health care reform law, saying the measure has already begun to discourage job creation and should be replaced with legislation that reduces health care costs while protecting jobs.
“The previous Congress’ health care reform debate was highly and, in our opinion, unnecessarily divisive,” NRF Vice President and Employee Benefits Policy Counsel Neil Trautwein said. “The retail industry proposed and strongly supported comprehensive health care reform that would reduce health care costs and extend coverage to the uninsured. Instead, Congress enacted – over the business community’s strong objections – a reform law that will fail to reduce health care costs and will impose penalty mandates on employers in 2014 that are already deterring job growth today at the expense of tomorrow’s economy.”
Trautwein’s comments came in a letter to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and all other members of the House. The House is beginning debate today on H.R. 2, the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” and is scheduled to vote Wednesday on that bill plus a resolution that would instruct committees to begin developing substitute legislation. NRF will count consideration of both the bill and resolution as key votes in NRF’s annual ranking of lawmakers on issues important to the retail industry.
Trautwein noted that NRF has worked closely with the Obama Administration on steps to smooth implementation of the law, such as a November agreement that will allow limited benefit “mini-med” plans provided to employees by some retailers and restaurants to continue in operation at least through 2011. Without the agreement, the 1.4 million workers covered by such plans could have been left without coverage until insurance “exchanges” are established in 2014.
“Nonetheless, we are convinced that the health reform law is in the whole misplaced and will hazard future job and economic growth,” Trautwein said. “We strongly support this effort to repeal and replace the health reform law with more job-friendly health care reform that will concentrate first on reducing the cost of medical care.”
NRF told Congress during last year’s debate that a requirement for companies with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health insurance at government-mandated levels or pay penalties for not doing so would drive up costs and force job losses. Since then, a number of small companies have told NRF they are limiting growth in order to avoid reaching the 50-employee threshold and being covered by the law.
NRF instead urged lawmakers to follow principles set forth in the NRF Vision for Health Care Reform, a white paper that offered ways to make health care more accessible by making it more affordable.
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the United States, NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2009 sales of $2.3 trillion. www.nrf.com