Industry News | December 21, 2009

NRA Reacts to Latest Healthcare Progress

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The National Restaurant Association issued a statement regarding the healthcare reform package proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“The Senate has made key improvements in its bill over the House-passed version,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “The healthcare reform package currently before the Senate demonstrates meaningful progress toward protecting jobs and small businesses while taking steps toward providing access to high-quality, affordable healthcare for Americans.”

“We need to ensure that the final bill improves job creation and entrepreneurship, and does not weaken the improvements included in the Senate bill,” Sweeney says.

The association expressed support for three key provisions. “The part-time worker exemption is of critical importance to our industry,” Sweeney says. “As the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, this recognition addresses the nature of our business model and is essential for our ability to continue to create the jobs that form the foundation of our economy.

“We applaud the provisions that protect small businesses, which are the backbone of our industry and the U.S. economy. [Also], we are pleased that the legislation preserves the ERISA framework to allow larger, multi-state employers to continue to offer coverage.

“We support Senator Maria Cantwell’s (D-Wash.) leadership on the definition of a full-time employee, yet we remain concerned that greater progress is needed to best reflect the seasonality and demographics of our industry.

“We thank Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for their efforts to extend the 30-day waiting period to our preferred 90-day waiting period before employer requirements begin. While the Senate bill includes a waiting period of 60 days, we hope to expand the time period to 90 days.

“We very much appreciate the hard work of the many Senators who have listened to and advocated for our concerns in this process. We will continue to work with the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Administration to develop a solution that allows the industry to provide its employees meaningful benefits and supports our industry’s ability to generate the economic growth and jobs our nation needs.”

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