NRF urges repeal of healthcare-reform law

Group calls debate 'unnecessarily divisive'

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation announced that it has urged the House to support a vote to repeal last year’s healthcare-reform law, saying the measure already has begun to discourage job creation and should be replaced with legislation that reduces healthcare costs while protecting jobs.

“The previous Congress’ healthcare-reform debate was highly — and in our opinion, unnecessarily — divisive,” NRF VP and employee benefits policy counsel Neil Trautwein said. “The retail industry proposed and strongly supported comprehensive healthcare reform that would reduce healthcare 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 healthcare 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 began debating 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.

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, on 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 healthcare reform that will concentrate first on reducing the cost of medical care.”

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