Health Care: It’s a Big Law, So Reasonable Leeway, Please

The National Association of Manufacturers has joined a dozen other business associations in asking Administration agencies to apply reasonable standards as they establish rules and compliance requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

On April 30, the group sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis making the request.

As Neil Trautwein of the National Retail Federation told Bloomberg: ““We’ve got a lot of existing and new costs to manage and face a lot of uncertainty over whether the health-care law will actually lower health-care costs. It’s not really a good idea to swamp the business community when we’re still struggling to get off the mat from the last recession.”

From the letter:

We recognize that the appropriate federal agencies are working diligently to quickly issue rules on many of the reforms in advance of their effective dates. However, given the September effective dates for the near-term requirements (e.g., no lifetime or annual limits, bans on cost-sharing for preventive services, dependent coverage changes, etc.) employers and health plans will be making coverage and policy decisions either in the absence of final regulations or with little time between the issuance of rules and the effective date of the new law. These changes include policy and contract revisions, IT system upgrades, modifications to employee benefit and marketing materials and development of employee and customer communications, just to name a few.

Given the amount of changes required, the uncertainty regarding the content of many pending rules, and the short time frame, we respectfully request that the applicable federal agencies provide affected entities with a good faith compliance standard as proposed in the attached document entitled, “Transition Period and Good Faith Compliance Standard under the PPACA Regulations.” We feel this standard, similar to those issued in the past, will provide the compliance environment to allow us to move forward in a spirit of partnership while we implement the numerous provisions of the law.

The full attachment is available here.

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