NRF Welcomes Obamacare Replacement Plan
The National Retail Federation (NRF) welcomed the House Budget Committee’s 19-17 approval of Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation, which sets the stage for a vote by the full House as soon as next week. It would effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate by reducing the penalty for noncompliance to zero; repeals the so-called Cadillac tax on high-value health plans until 2025; would lead to future insurance premium savings by repealing the health insurance tax, medical device tax and pharmaceutical tax; increases flexibility for health savings accounts; and takes a substantial first step toward Medicaid entitlement reform.
“Health insurance reform was supposed to make coverage more affordable,” NRF Vice President for Health Care Policy Neil Trautwein said. “Instead, Obamacare emphasized mandates that only drove up expenses for the employers which provide the vast majority of that coverage. Now we have a chance to get it right by moving our nation toward a more competition-driven health care market, and this bill takes a number of significant steps in that direction.
Total Retail’s Take: The House Republicans’ Affordable Care Act replacement plan would end the employer mandate to provide healthcare coverage and allow retailers to retain their tax exclusion status on health benefits. Maintaining tax-exempt, employer-provided benefits ensures that young, healthy workers don’t drop the plan rather than pay more taxes, according to David French, the NRF’s senior vice president of government relations. The NRF is strongly supporting the replacement plan; we will see if retailers begin to speak out on this divisive issue.