NRF Expresses ‘Disappointment’ In Health Care Reform Bill Passage

The National Retail Federation today expressed “extreme disappointment” at the House’s passage of sweeping health care reform legislation over the weekend, saying added labor costs under the bill would cost many retail workers their jobs.

“This truly is an historic moment, but not a cause for celebration. Congress has embarked on a dangerous, anti-job experiment in the midst of the worst economy our nation has seen in decades,” said Steve Pfister, NRF senior vice president/Government Relations. “How many lost jobs will it take before Congress reverses course?”

According to Pfister, the NRF is concerned about mid-sized companies that are large enough for the mandates to apply but too small to have the ability to absorb these added costs. “Retailers have told Congress all along that we value our employees and want to expand upon the millions of workers and their families for whom we already provide coverage, but that to do that we need reform that would lower costs,” he said. “Instead, we’ve been handed employer mandates that do just the opposite while doing little or nothing about the cost of medical care, which in turn drives higher coverage costs.”

He continued, “Passage of this legislation is not the end of the process. As regulators set the rules under which the new law will be implemented, NRF will work diligently to maximize the benefits of its positive components and minimize the negative impact on American businesses and workers. We will work to repeal provisions like the employer mandate that will harm both our industry and the economy. Our goal is still health care reform that helps the retail industry voluntarily provide high-quality coverage to employees in a more affordable and cost-effective manner. This legislation fails to meet that goal.”