PIA: Beware “Penalties” in Health-Care Bills
Printing Industries of America (
By Patrick Henry
Published: October 6, 2009
Printing Industries of America (PIA) continues to express concern about health-care reform proposals it believes would be too burdensome for printers. This week’s edition of Imprint, its legislative e-newsletter, updates members on the progress of health-care bills moving through the Senate Finance Committee. Of note for employers, says PIA, is the fact that this included “voting to stiffen penalties on employers that don’t offer health insurance to workers as part of the overall reform attempt. The original Baucus bill (i.e., that proposed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT) would have assessed a penalty fee on employers (50 workers or more) not offering health insurance by requiring a fee for each employee that purchased an individual plan through a new health insurance exchange; the logic behind Baucus's plan is that business fees would cover the cost of federal subsidies for workers. These fees would have been tax deductible. “However, an amendment passed that would prevent these fees from being tax deductible. This amendment sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) would increase funding for overall health care reform by $6.4 billion (up from the $27 billion in fees in the original bill). This is just an example of the type of amendment Printing Industries of America and others in the business community are working to beat back as the legislative process moves forward.” PrintPac, PIA’s political action committee, maintains that “the ‘shared responsibility’ (a.k.a. pay or play) provision mandating printers to provide health insurance to full- and part-time employees or to pay a penalty is too costly for an industry already roiling from the current economy. Also concerning are mandates that employers who offer insurance must pay the majority of premiums.” PrintPac, which opposes the idea of a government-run health insurance exchange program for small employers, claims that 97% of printing companies already offer health insurance to employees and their dependents. Printing employers: what are your best hopes—or worst fears—about the health-care reform proposals now being deliberated by Congress?