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Health Care Reform

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As a key member of the U.S. Workplace Wellness Alliance, SHRM helped “kick off” National Workplace Wellness Week (the first full week in April) at an April 2 “Healthy Living for a Healthy Workforce” press conference.  The Capitol Hill event featured prominent members of Congress and business leaders. 

At the event, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), a champion of prevention and public health initiatives, announced plans to reintroduce the Healthy Workforce Act, a proposal that would provide a tax credit to employers for the costs of implementing workplace wellness programs.

Harkin campaigning last summer with then-Presidential Candidate Barack Obama

SHRM Position:  SHRM has endorsed the Healthy Workforce Act and will soon launch an advocacy effort to build support for this important bill, which may be considered as part of a comprehensive health care reform package later this year.  Stay tuned to the HR Issues Update on how you can voice your views on this legislation.

Another issue that could be debated in the context of comprehensive health reform is retiree health care.  Recently, Representative John Tierney (D-MA) introduced H.R. 1322, the Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act, a bill that would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to prohibit employers from reducing or terminating their retiree health benefits. 

SHRM Position:  SHRM generally opposes any legislation that would erode ERISA and the voluntary nature of employee benefits.  As a result, the Society joined other organizations in sending a letter to Representative Tierney outlining our concerns with this bill. 


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The next issue of HR Issues Update will be published on Friday, April 17, 2009.

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