WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Retail Federation today welcomed an agreement on legislation that would combine funding for Affordable Care Act subsidies and additional enrollment outreach with waivers from some ACA mandates, saying it would help stabilize the availability of health care coverage for many small retailers and their employees.
“NRF strongly supports this deal,” NRF Vice President for Health Care Policy Neil Trautwein said. “Some retail employees obtain their health insurance through the individual market. Furthermore, what affects the individual market – particularly the participation of insurers – also affects the small group market and that’s where many independent stores find their coverage.”
“We are particularly pleased by the bipartisan nature of this proposal,” Trautwein said. “Finding meaningful relief from the ACA’s cost burdens – especially the ACA taxes, the 30-hour definition of a full-time worker and the dysfunctional reporting system – will come only with bipartisan support.”
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced Tuesday that they had reached agreement on legislation that would provide two years of funding for Cost Sharing Reduction payments with additional limited authority for states to grant waivers from ACA mandates. The two senators said the legislation, which is expected to be formally introduced on Thursday, is intended to stabilize the individual health insurance market and begin to lower the costs of premiums.
President Trump, who said last week he would no longer allow the CSR subsidies to be paid because they are not directly authorized by the ACA, signaled his early support for the Alexander-Murray plan, though he later criticized it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., welcomed the compromise, and Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., strongly endorsed it.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.