Restaurants get big health care win

Restaurants get big health care win

Restaurants and other small businesses scored a major victory Thursday when the Senate followed the House’s lead and passed the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act.

The National Restaurant Association was a leading advocate for the legislation, which will preserve the ability of restaurants and other businesses with 50 to 100 employees to buy health insurance plans on the more affordable large-group market.

President Obama is expected to sign the legislation, which is a much-needed and common-sense revision to the Affordable Care Act.

Without the change, a provision in the Affordable Care Act would have pushed businesses with 50-100 employees into the small-group insurance market starting in 2016. The small-group market generally offers fewer options and the change would have resulted in higher costs for employers and sharp premium increases for employees. According to NRA research, more than 25,000 restaurants and 1 million employees will be helped by the change. Under the PACE Act, states will have the freedom to limit the small-group market to its traditional definition of businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Starting in 2016, the Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees to offer health coverage to full-time employees.

“We thank the House and the Senate for working together to pass this important bipartisan legislation that ensures America’s small businesses will be free from sweeping premium increases that could severely impact their bottom line, while at the same time increasing the cost of insurance for their employees,” said Angelo Amador, NRA senior vice president and regulatory counsel.

The NRA is a leader of the 50-100 Coalition, a group of business associations that has advocated for passage of the PACE Act, and remains committed to  pursuing further reasonable reforms to the Affordable Care Act, including changing the law’s definition of “full time” from 30 hours to the traditional 40 hours a week definition.

(Source: National Restaurant Association)