The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President John Engler said that the passage of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (H.R. 3590) and the "Reconciliation Act of 2010" (H.R. 4872) is "going to increase costs and make it difficult for manufacturers to continue to offer generous health benefits."
The group points out that 97% of its member companies voluntarily provide health care benefits. "The legislation passed on March 21 will stifle manufacturers' ability to grow and create jobs while competing in a challenging global economy," Engler said.
The industry group opposes many of the provisions in the legislation saying it will increase health care costs. A partial list includes:
• Excise taxes on health insurance plans which would adversely impact many companies with older workforces and/or smaller self-insured plans.
• Increase in and expansion of the Medicare hospital insurance (HI) tax, which would increase taxes on investment income and unfairly target some 70% of U.S. manufacturers that file taxes at the individual rate.
• Limits on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) that would curb design flexibility options for manufacturers and place an immediate tax increase on employees that use these tools.
• New industry-specific fees that single out particular industries to pay for health care reform.
• Repeal of the tax exclusion for prescription drug subsidies, which would significantly increase employers costs and make it more difficult for them to continue offering health benefits to their retirees.
"This legislation is fundamentally flawed, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating that the bill could cost as much as $2 trillion over ten years once it is fully implemented beginning in 2014. We entered this debate believing health care reform was about reducing costs through legal liability reform, delivery reform and enhancing competition by allowing employers to purchase insurance across state lines," Engler said.
He pointed out that sector has lost 2.2 million jobs since December 2007 explaining that "this is no time to place additional burdens on Americas job creators."
"America's manufacturers will continue to advocate for real health care reform that lowers costs, improves care and does not impede our ability to create jobs, grow our economy and remain competitive in a global market."