Chamber of Commerce Supports GOP Measure To Repeal Reform Law
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce this year plans to support efforts to slow the implementation of the federal health reform law, chamber officials said on Tuesday, Politico reports.
Chamber President Tom Donohue also acknowledged that the business group supports legislation (HR 2) introduced by House Republicans to repeal the law.
During his annual "State of American Business" speech, Donohue noted that although the group supported the broader need for health reform, it opposed the legislation that eventually became law (Frates, Politico, 1/11). Donohue cited new government regulations under the overhaul as a significant threat to jobs and future enterprise in the country, according to Modern Healthcare. He said the law creates 159 new agencies and supervisory bodies and grants "extraordinary power" to HHS.
Donohue noted that HHS already has granted 222 waivers to the law, which he called "a revealing acknowledgement that the law is unworkable." He added that "with key provisions under challenge in the courts by states and others, it's time in my opinion to go back to the drawing board" (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 1/11).
Chamber spokesperson Blair Latoff described the chamber's low-key approach to opposing the health reform law as "pragmatic." Such a strategy marks a departure from the millions of dollars the group spent on lobbying efforts to oppose overhaul legislation, Politico reports. Chamber officials declined to say how much the group plans to spend on its new antireform efforts.
Renewed Attention to Concerns With Overhaul
Several chamber officials noted that although the repeal bill likely will stall in the Senate or be vetoed by President Obama, the debate over the legislation is a chance for the organization to more closely examine the overhaul.
Donohue said, "We see the upcoming House vote ... as an opportunity for everyone to take a fresh look at health care reform and to replace unworkable approaches with more efficient and effective measures that will lower costs, expand access and improve quality" (Politico, 1/11).
Following Donohue's speech, chamber lobbyist Bruce Josten described the organization's concerns and priorities related to the reform law. He said the group will support:
- A repeal of the 1099 tax-reporting provision, which he hopes will be accomplished at some point because Obama also favors its elimination;
- Revisions to penalties on businesses if workers opt for government-sponsored health coverage, which he said would have a "devastating effect" on the franchising industry;
- Changes to medical-loss ratio rules, which define spending parameters for health insurers; and
- Changes to new regulations on health savings accounts.