Senate Republicans introduced a measure Thursday with the aim of preventing the Obama administration from ignoring a provision within its own healthcare law.
President Barack Obama successfully overhauled national healthcare in 2010 when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Republicans are now arguing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is ignoring one of the few provisions in the law they like. The provision allows employers to reduce insurance premium costs for employees making healthy choices.
“This is yet another example of the Obama administration ignoring the plain text of the president’s own health care law in order to appease special interest groups,” Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I’m proud to join in this effort to prevent this blatant overreach and put business decisions back in the hands of employers who best understand their own workers’ health care.”
Employers are able to discount health insurance premiums by up to 50 percent for employees making healthy choices like quitting smoking or maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Republicans claim the EEOC has been ignoring the provision by filing lawsuits alleging employers that reduce costs for healthy employees are breaking federal discrimination and disability laws.
“Wellness programs are the only part of Obamacare that everyone agreed on,” Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander said in a statement to TheDCNF. “EEOC has refused to listen to the concerns of Congress, the White House, and American business-owners, Congress must act to help employees seeking to improve their health, while bringing down their health insurance costs.”
The EEOC issued a clarification in May on how it planned to enforce the provision going forward. Republicans expressed concern the clarification only reinforced that the agency plans to continue violating the law. Alexander and Isakson introduced their measure under the Congressional Review Act which allows lawmakers to review and reject regulatory chances within 60 days.
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