NRA urges opposition to health care bill

The National Restaurant Association said Friday it opposes some of the latest provisions in the proposed health care reform bill set for a vote on Sunday, and has urged it members to lobby against it.

The association said its opposition centers around such issues as the definition of what a full-time employee is, as well as increased administrative burdens associated with tracking that data. The small business exemption is also of concern, along with the proposed penalty on small business owners who don’t provide health insurance coverage to full-time employees. In the current version of the bill, the penalty has increased from $750 to $2,000 per employee. Small businesses are defined as having 50 or fewer full-time employees.

NRA president and chief executive Dawn Sweeney said passage of the current health-care bill would severely and negatively impact the restaurant industry.

“Passage of this bill would increase costs and impose very onerous administrative burdens on restaurant businesses,” she said. “In a low-margin industry such as ours, this is a substantial hit. The combination of those things led our executive committee to meet today and vote unanimously to oppose this version of the bill.”

The association is urging its membership to contact their congressmen and demand they vote against the legislation when it comes up for passage on Sunday. NRA information on the bill can be found at its website: http://www.restauranthealthcarereforminfo.com.

“At the end of the day it is a given fact we are the second largest private sector employer and we have to fight for the measures that protect, defend and create jobs for this country,” Sweeney said.

She further stated that the NRA has been actively involved during the past year in getting a number of key improvements added to the current health-care reform package, including penalty-free treatment of part-time employees, a 90-day penalty-free waiting period and Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, provisions for multistate operators.

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected]