WASHINGTON -- As Congress continues its debate over health care reform, retailers remain adamant in their opposition to President Clinton's plan as well as a number of other proposals.

Retail executives estimate that universal coverage would cost their industry billions in additional costs each year. To deal with the expenses, executives said, the industry might have to slash 700,000 jobs.

Retailing provides coverage to just 35 percent of its work force, according to the Employment Policy Institute.

Members of the International Mass Retail Association have been meeting with Congressional representatives to drive home their views.

Here is a summary of IMRA's position on health care reform.

IMRA Opposes:

  • Employer mandates.
  • Government-run national health regulatory boards.
  • Mandatory health alliances, which would administer programs and purchasing.
  • Government-dictated benefit packages.
  • Caps on insurance premiums or deductibles.
  • Government-determined budgets for health-care spending.
  • New or increased taxes on individuals or businesses to fund the reforms in the system.
IMRA Supports:
  • Insurance market reform, to insure that coverage is not denied or canceled because of pre-existing conditions or changes in health status.
  • Voluntary purchasing pools for small employers and individuals.
  • Tax equity for the self-employed and uninsured.
  • Simplified and standardized billing and administrative procedures.
  • Medical Savings Accounts as an option to the current third-party payer system.

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