The National Retail Federation praised a plan unveiled today by Senate Republican leadership to replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, saying the bill would protect the foundation of employer-based health benefits that are the source of coverage for 177 million Americans.
“Senator McConnell’s proposal steers health care reform back in the direction of strengthening the competition-driven private insurance market,” NRF Vice President for Health Care Policy Neil Trautwein said. “Retailers welcome this step forward in the process to repeal many of the most onerous mandates in Obamacare and replace them with policies that will make it easier for employers to offer health care coverage and make it more affordable for their employees.”
Among other actions supported by NRF, the legislation would effectively repeal the ACA’s employer mandate that businesses provide health insurance to full-time workers. While the budget reconciliation process being used in the bill does not allow the mandate to be repealed outright, the measure would reduce the penalties for non-compliance to zero. Additional steps would be needed to relieve regulatory burdens associated with the employer mandate. NRF also welcomes the inclusion of a small business health plan proposal authored by Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi in the bill.
The legislation would also delay the so-called Cadillac Tax on the value of health plans, and would repeal Obamacare’s health insurance tax, medical device tax and pharmaceutical tax permanently. It would also increase flexibility for health savings accounts and would take a substantial first step toward Medicaid reform.
NRF opposed passage of Obamacare and has sought its repeal while working with Congress to mitigate the impact of its most onerous provisions. Rather than lowering costs, the controversial law emphasizes mandates that have driven up health insurance expenses for both employers and employees.