What a difference a couple of weeks makes!
When I last wrote about the current U.S. health care reform debate, the situation looked rather bleak for seasonal employers. Since neither the House nor the Senate bill specifically addressed the treatment of seasonal workers under the proposed employer mandate, IAAPA and other seasonal industries were trying to convince leadership to define “full-time employee” in a way that excluded temporary seasonal workers. This task was proving especially difficult since House and Senate leadership decided to forgo a traditional conference committee and instead reconcile the two bills through closed-door, private negotiations with the White House.
As you’ve most likely heard by now, on Tuesday (Jan. 19) the voters of Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown to fill the late Teddy Kennedy’s senate seat, causing the Democrats to lose their 60-vote “super majority." This election has resulted in a very different environment for the consideration of health care legislation. Yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she did not have the votes in the House to pass the Senate health care bill, which would have been the simplest way for the Democratic majority to enact health care reform.
At this point, it looks like both chambers of Congress will have to go back to the drawing board and craft new health care reform legislation that is smaller in scope. While we have heard nothing definite on the contents of this legislation, it may be limited to insurance providers and not contain the employer mandates and increased taxes previously seen.
IAAPA is monitoring the situation closely and will advise its members to take further action when it is necessary. If the new legislation contains employer mandates, we will continue to seek a workable solution for employers of seasonal workers.
Should you have any questions about this or other pending legislation, please feel free to contact us.