Washington, D.C. The National Retail Federation on Wednesday urged Congress to reject calls to use fast-track budget reconciliation rules to push flawed healthcare reform legislation through the House and Senate.
“We strongly oppose efforts to ram healthcare reform into law,” NRF senior VP for government relations Steve Pfister said. “Health care represents one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Good healthcare policy should easily command an overwhelming majority in Congress and widespread support among the public.”
NRF strongly opposed separate healthcare reform bills passed by the House and Senate late last year because both included controversial employer mandates and other provisions that would drive up costs for employers, while not doing enough to make health care more affordable. With the current economy making it difficult for retailers to absorb new costs, NRF believes employer mandates and penalties would force many retailers to lay off workers.
“Mandated coverage requirements are hazardous to a job-starved economy and are especially dangerous for small employers,” Pfister said. “We remain adamantly opposed to legislation that will drive up unemployment through higher labor costs.”
Pfister said NRF would support healthcare reform legislation that reduces immediate and long-term costs for employers, individuals and government payers; reforms the health-insurance market to ease access to coverage and mitigate rate increases; and provides help to small businesses and individuals to access coverage.