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WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation today expressed disappointment in the Senate health care reform bill introduced by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
This bill will not deliver the lower-cost and better-quality health care and insurance coverage that retailers have called for, NRF Vice President and Employee Benefits Policy Counsel Neil Trautwein said. In fact, it will increase costs and threaten retail jobs. The Senate should go back to the drawing board.
We recognize that the Senate bill does contain some positive reform elements, and had it expanded on those and avoided the employer mandate and public plan provisions that dominate the bill, NRF could have supported it, Trautwein said. NRF will continue to work to improve the bill during the Senate debate. But should the bill remain in its current form or add additional troublesome provisions, we would have no choice but to oppose it and key vote against final passage.
The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote this weekend on whether to begin debate on health care reform, using an unrelated House bill as a shell vehicle to move forward. If Saturday s vote is approved, Reid s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to be substituted for the text of the House bill before debate begins in earnest after Thanksgiving.
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry’s key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees – about one in five American workers – and 2008 sales of $4.6 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. www.nrf.com.