WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation aligned with more than 20 other business groups Thursday to support a Republican health care reform package that would not require employers to pay for workers’ health premiums.
The plan, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole (R., Kan.) and backed by 39 of the Senate’s 44 Republicans, sidesteps the most contentious portion of health care reform that has plagued Congress in its attempts to come up with an acceptable version — the costs to employers.
NRF president Tracy Mullin predicted the Republican plan would “break the logjam” on health care reform. Mullin spoke during a Capitol Hill press conference with Dole, Republicans backing the plan and business leaders.
Mullin said that retailers’ profit margins were so slim that if they had to pay most of their workers’ health costs they’d be forced to cut jobs.
The Dole package is the second plan before Congress that the NRF has backed. The other is a House bill sponsored by Rep. Roy Rowland (D., Ga.) that, like Dole’s, does not require employers to pay their workers’ health premiums. Dole’s package would guarantee access to coverage instead of providing it to all Americans, and aims to make insurance more accessible by prohibiting insurers from canceling policies for sick people or those who change employers.