July 11, 2012 - NRF Welcomes House Vote to Repeal Faulty Health Care Reform Law
NRF welcomed legislation passed by the House today that would overturn the controversial health care reform law enacted two years ago, saying the move is necessary to protect jobs.
“At a time when the economy is still struggling to recover, Congress needs to repeal the health care law before it costs millions of Americans their jobs,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement issued this morning.
“Congress set out to make health care more accessible by making it more affordable,” Shay said. “Instead, what we may well get is a perfect storm of unintended consequences that drives up costs so high that many companies likely will be forced to cut back their payrolls or discontinue health care coverage even if it means paying fines. Instead of making health care more available, the Affordable Care Act is likely to cost many workers both their jobs and their health insurance.”
The House voted 244-185 this afternoon to pass H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act, sponsored by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. The move comes two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to uphold the law, officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“There’s a number of different reasons why we should repeal the president’s health care law,” House GOP Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said. “But one, and most importantly, is what it’s doing to jobs.”
Some small retailers have told NRF they are being cautious about growing to 50 full-time workers, the threshold at which the law’s mandate to provide health care coverage or pay huge fines takes effect beginning in 2014. Larger companies have said they might have to reduce their number of workers in order to afford the increased payroll costs that would come with the mandate.
“It’s time for Congress to go back to work and come up with true bipartisan health care reform that focuses first on reducing costs and addressing the fundamental flaws of our health care system, rather than destroying jobs and penalizing the very employers who today voluntarily pay for health insurance,” Shay said. “As an industry that provides health care coverage for millions of American workers and their families, retail will continue to work with lawmakers to achieve that goal.”
The repeal legislation easily passed the House, where Republicans hold the majority, but is expected to be blocked in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Nonetheless, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said “hope springs eternal,” and other Republicans said the vote sent a strong message.
NRF on Tuesday sent House members a letter saying repeal would be counted as a key vote in NRF’s annual ranking of lawmakers on issues important to the retail industry. But if full repeal does not become law, the letter urged policymakers to at least delay implementation of some of the requirement set to take effect in 2014.
“NRF has worked both diligently and pragmatically with regulators to tackle the many complexities of implementing PPACA,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said in the letter. “Despite best efforts on both sides, we continue to doubt whether the 2014 deadlines for key provisions can be met without causing great disruption in employer-sponsored coverage.”
© 2012 National Retail Federation