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National Restaurant Association Issues Statement on Health Care Reform Bills

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 Medical PDA News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 The National Restaurant Association issued a statement today regarding the health care 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," said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. "The health care 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 health care 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 said.

The Association expressed support for three key provisions. "The part-time worker exemption is of critical importance to our industry," Sweeney added. "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," Sweeney said. "As well, 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-WA) 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," Sweeney said.

"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," Sweeney said. "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," Sweeney said. "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."

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which is comprised of 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a work force of 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America's restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at www.restaurant.org.

SOURCE National Restaurant Association
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