Alexander: Out-of-Control Obamacare Costs Force Wal-Mart, Others to Cut Benefits for Tennesseans Working Part-Time

Says Republican health care steps will make it easier for Tenn. employers to offer health benefits

Posted on October 8, 2014

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“Obamacare took away choices and increased costs, forcing many hard-working Americans to lose their plans.” –Lamar Alexander 

CHATTANOOGA—Oct. 8 – As Obamacare costs force Wal-Mart to eliminate health benefits for part-time workers and a Gallup Poll finds an increasing number of Americans hurt by Obamacare, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today that Republican proposals will make it easier for employers to offer health benefits, and easier for individuals to afford health insurance.

“Companies used to be able to offer health care that met employees’ needs and budgets, but Obamacare took away choices and increased costs, forcing many hard-working Americans to lose their plans. Republican proposals would make it easier for employers to offer health benefits by driving down costs with more competition, allowing any range of plans to be chosen so people aren’t paying for more than they want, encouraging rather than mandating coverage, and strengthening the ability of employers to help employees make healthy choices.”

Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate health committee, has laid out a specific series of steps Republicans intend to take to make it easier for individuals to afford health insurance.

One step is to enable those who liked their health-care plans before Obamacare took them away to buy them again. A second step is to allow all individuals, not just those under 30, to buy low-cost insurance in the form of a major medical plan. A third step is to expand health savings accounts so that more Americans can save for future health-care costs. A fourth step is to allow small businesses to pool their resources and buy health insurance for their employees at a lower price. A fifth step is to allow individuals to buy their health insurance in another state if that plan better suits their needs.

Wal-Mart, which employs nearly 39,000 Tennesseans, announced this week it would eliminate health insurance benefits for employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week. It also announced that full-time workers with health benefits would be required to pay a greater share of their health care costs. Wal-Mart said it expects the impact of health care costs to reach $500 million this fiscal year alone.

Target, The Home Depot, and Trader Joe’s have all made similar decisions.

Obamacare mandates that employers provide health care for workers who work more than 30 hours a week. It also prohibits employers from offering health care plans that do not meet its required levels of coverage, so few Americans have access to low-cost plans, often called catastrophic coverage.

 

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