In a rare weekend meeting, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act and, if Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her way, vote to pass it as early as this weekend.
In anticipation of this action, the Society For Human Resources (SHRM) is voicing strong opposition to H.R. 3962 and urging U.S. citizens and businesses to express their strong opposition to it as well to members of Congress immediately.
According to communications circulated this week, SHRM “strongly supports comprehensive health care reform that strengthens the employer-based system, promotes wellness programs and health promotion initiatives, strengthens the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), increases purchaser and consumer access to cost and quality information and increases access to affordable health coverage. SHRM says the House bill fails to achieve these goals. Accordingly, SHRM is urging American’s to contact their Representative today to urge a NO VOTE on H.R. 3962.
SHRM’s concerns about the proposal include that H.R. 3962:
- Does not include provisions to facilitate greater availability of wellness programs among employers and employees.
- Does not include meaningful cost, quality, or transparency provisions to ensure that both employers and employees have better access to health-related information.
- Requires employers to provide and pay for “qualified” health care coverage or face an 8 percent payroll tax. Employers must pay 72.5 percent of the premium for individuals and 65 percent of the premium for families. In addition, even if an employer provides and pays for health insurance coverage for their workforce, that employer could still be subject to an 8 percent payroll tax if employees decline employer coverage because it is unaffordable – defined as more than 12 percent of the employee’s income.
- Would erode the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by applying state law remedies to employer purchased coverage in a health insurance exchange; prohibiting post-retirement reductions of retiree health benefits by group health plans, unless reductions are also made to active employees’ health benefits; and requiring employer-sponsored plans to meet detailed federal requirements that will increase costs.
- Includes a public insurance plan option that raises serious concerns about cost-shifting to private plans. SHRM objects because inadequate reimbursement practices under Medicare and Medicaid has resulted in significant cost-shifting to private plans, increasing costs for both employers and employees.
In light of these concerns, SHRM is asking all members and other concerned Americans to write mMembers of Congress TODAY and urge them to oppose the Affordable Health Care for America Act. It invites members to use SHRM’s HRVoice to share thes econcernings by:
- Log ging onto HR Voice
- Under the heading “Take Immediate Action on these Hot Issues,” click on: “VOTE NO on the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962)” and
- Personalizing and sending individualized letters by including specific information about the organization you work for, your experiences in the workplace, and why this legislation would negatively impact your organization.
If you have questions about or need assistance monitoring, evaluating, commenting on or responding to this or any other health care reform proposal or other federal or state health care, workforce or other legislative, regulatory or other developments or concerns, please contact the author of this article, Curran Tomko Tarski LLP Labor & Employment Practice Group Chair Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and Chair of the American Bar Association RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group, Ms. Stamer is experienced with assisting employers and others about compliance with federal and state health care, employee benefit, workforce and other legislation and regulation. Ms. Stamer has advised and represented clients about these and other health care labor and employment, compensation, employee benefit and other personnel and staffing matters for more than 20 years. Ms. Stamer also speaks and writes extensively on these and other related matters. Her public policy experience includes ongoing involvement in these concerns within the U.S. for 30 years, as well as serving as a policy advisor on Social Security Reform to the Government of Bolivia and providing input or other representation to various other clients on workforce, health care and other policies in various other regions of the world.
For additional information about Ms. Stamer and her experience or to access other publications by Ms. Stamer see here or contact Ms. Stamer directly. For additional information about the experience and services of Ms. Stamer and other members of the Curran Tomko Tarksi LLP team, see here.