The National Retail Federation supports legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare

Bills Do Not Include Tax on Employer-Provided Health Benefits

WASHINGTON, 2017-Mar-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (March 7, 2017) said it supports legislation unveiled by House Republicans to repeal and replace former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“Retailers want reforms that push us toward a more competition-driven private health care market, and the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bills take us in that direction,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said.

“We believe this reform can be achieved without disturbing the tax treatment of employer-provided benefits, which are the foundation of coverage for more than 175 million Americans,” French said. “Employees are highly sensitive to any change in benefits and younger, healthier workers could choose to drop their coverage altogether rather than pay more taxes. We are pleased that House leadership heard our concerns and that their bills do not disturb this structure. We will work with Congress to repeal all threats to employer-based coverage, including the so-called Cadillac tax on health benefits.”

Retailers oppose proposals to cap the current exclusion from taxable income of employer-provided health benefits, and NRF has been working to educate lawmakers on the consequences of taxing health benefits. While House Republican leadership proposed capping the exclusion last June, the provision was not included in the legislation released on Monday. NRF nonetheless remains wary that the concept will emerge in other legislation later this year.

NRF supports efforts to repeal ObamaCare’s employer mandate and to provide the individual and small group markets with interim stability.

“Health benefits are highly sought after, even for small start-up businesses, and greater stability will help create a better functioning market,” French said.

Retailers are also pleased with the reform bills’ focus on market-driven changes to benefit offerings. Greater variation in what is offered and freeing up where it can be purchased would help lower costs through greater competition. Enhancements to health savings accounts, greater state flexibility in rating factors and the availability of catastrophic coverage are all important reforms NRF supports.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF urges Congress to reject bill that would both undermine competition and repeal on debit card swipe fees

WASHINGTON, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (September 13, 2016) asked Congress to reject legislation that would both undermine competition and repeal the Federal Reserve’s cap on debit card swipe fees. The proposed bill would unleash new, higher, hidden swipe fees that could more than double without competitive routing options and the cap that are currently in place. Most consumers want the billions of dollars in savings to remain.

“Billions of dollars that retailers have saved under this cap have been passed on to their customers, and the vast majority of consumers surveyed have made it clear that they want those savings to continue,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “Repealing this important consumer protection measure would drive up the price of almost everything consumers buy and create an unearned windfall for the nation’s largest banks. Big banks can’t be allowed to take yet another bite out of the consumer spending that drives the nation’s economy.”

The Dodd Frank Law set limits on what big banks could charge if they chose not to compete. Repealing the law would allow banks to raise the fees as high as they want, without fear of competition.  “Swipe fee reform pulled banks’ hand at least part of the way out of consumers’ pockets,” Duncan said. “We can’t let them put it back in again.”

Prior to reform, competition was also being undermined because the banks and their card companies locked processing competitors out of the marketplace. Debit card swipe fee reform reversed that, and as a result, there is now an opening for debit networks who are faster, cheaper, more innovative and certainly safer; for example, they all use PINs. Repeal of these reforms will undo this progress and will drive swipe fees up even higher.

A survey conducted for NRF this summer found that 89 percent of consumers said the reform should remain in place. In addition, 84 percent said swipe fees should be set on a competitive basis rather than letting credit card companies set price-fixed fees charged by virtually all the banks that issue their credit and debit cards.

As part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, debit card swipe fees are limited to a flat fee of 21 cents per transaction, plus 0.05 percent of the purchase price. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to begin consideration today of the Financial CHOICE Act, legislation sponsored by Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that would repeal debit swipe fee reform as part of a broader rewrite of Dodd-Frank.

Prior to the cap, banks charged retailers one to two percent of the purchase amount to process debit card transactions, driving up the total amount paid by consumers. That amounted to about 45 cents on the typical debit purchase but could come to several dollars on larger purchases. Without the cap, the typical debit swipe fee would likely go back to the previous 45 cents if not higher, Duncan said.

Retailers have saved about $8.5 billion a year since Dodd-Frank was enacted, and most of the savings has been passed along to consumers, according to a study conducted by noted economist Robert Shapiro.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) expressed strong opposition to any effort to repeal debit swipe fee reforms

Arlington , VA, 2016-Jul-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — In a letter to leaders of the House Financial Services Committee, more than 100 other businesses, including many members of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) expressed strong opposition to any effort to repeal debit swipe fee reforms.

Swipe fee reform, also known as the Durbin Amendment, passed the Senate in 2010 with 64 votes and was included in the Dodd Frank Financial Reform Law. The reforms require that the fees banks and card networks charge every time a debit card is swiped are “reasonable and proportionate to the cost of processing the transaction.” Prior to the passage of reforms, card networks utilized their overwhelming market power to raise fees at will. Swipe fees are estimated to cost merchants and consumers $50 billion every year.

“As cornerstones in the business community, we are staunch supporters of free enterprise, and generally do not support any market intervention unless they are not functioning efficiently. Credit and debit card acceptance is a prime example of a nonfunctioning marketplace,” said the signers of the letter.

“Debit card reforms have been a major step in the right direction, and any removal of those reforms would be a monumental step in the wrong direction for U.S. businesses and consumers,” they concluded.

Two proposals before the committee, the Financial CHOICE Act, introduced by Chairman Jeb Hensarling and H.R. 5465, introduced by Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), would fully repeal the reforms enacted in 2010.

“Repealing Durbin would once again allow the largest banks and card networks to impose outrageous fees on merchants across the country, while hurting everyone outside Wall Street,” said Austen Jensen, RILA’s vice president for government affairs. “RILA and the broader merchant community will fight any effort to repeal these reforms and we urge members of Congress to do the same.”

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Source: RILA