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NRF: Reject bad healthcare reforms


Washington, D.C. The National Retail Federation has urged a senate committee to reject proposals for a pay-or-play employer mandate and other healthcare reforms the organization feels will drive up costs without resolving problems.

The NRF on Thursday commended the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for revising a “worst-case scenario” plan for healthcare reform, but also urged it to reject proposals for a pay-or-play employer mandate and other “bad reforms” that could drive up costs without addressing underlying problems with the healthcare system.

 “We were strongly disappointed by the first draft of this legislation that publicly emerged last Friday,” NRF SVP government relations Steve Pfister said, citing a pay-or-play mandate, a public plan option and restrictions on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. “We view that 170-page first draft of this legislation as a potential worst-case scenario for the retail and restaurant industries.”

Pfister went on to say that the NRF commended the committee for taking a fresh look at alternatives for a very wide range of issues of concern, referring to a revised 615-page draft bill released this week. “We are hopeful that the committee, as it begins to mark up the bill next Tuesday, will reach a satisfactory outcome on each of the issues of our primary concern that will collectively allow us to support the underlying bill.”

Pfister’s comments came in a letter to HELP Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Ranking Member Michael Enzi, R-Wyo. The panel is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation this afternoon and begin voting on the measure next week.

Pfister said NRF would oppose and count as a key vote any bill including a pay-or-play employer mandate, a public plan option or restrictions on ERISA protections.

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