The Case for Obamacare Reform

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The National Retail Federation today praised congressional efforts to replace former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in an op-ed published in the newspaper USA Today, but added that further actions are needed to provide relief for employers from Obamacare’s compliance burdens.

“To suggest that Congress must choose between fixing the Affordable Care Act and passing the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act misses a key point: Even if the Senate bill becomes law, we will still need to fix the ACA,” NRF Vice President for Health Care Policy Neil Trautwein wrote.

Trautwein said, “Reconciliation will affect the ACA unevenly because it allows only a partial repeal. With either party able to block the other’s priorities, the need for bipartisan legislation becomes acute. Only by working together can lawmakers surmount the filibuster bar to pass the additional changes needed.”

Click here to read the full op-ed.

Among other actions supported by NRF, the Senate 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 While the budget reconciliation process being used in the bill does not allow the mandate to be repealed outright, the measure would reduce the penalties for non-compliance to zero.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 Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

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.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

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