- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 29, 2014

Top U.S. CEOs who supported the White House on the Affordable Care Act are livid over new lawsuits by the Obama administration in response to certain workplace wellness programs.

Employers are now threatening to align themselves with Obamacare opponents because of the litigation, sources toldReuters Saturday.

Most major U.S. corporations have backed the health care reforms despite some weak elements, due to their support for wellness programs that encourage healthy habits to curb health care costs.

A bipartisan provision in the 2010 health care reform law allows employers to reward employees who participate in wellness programs and penalize those who don’t.

But the administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently filed lawsuits challenging the wellness programs at Honeywell International and two smaller companies.

“The fact that the EEOC sued is shocking to our members,” said Maria Ghazal, vice-president and counsel at the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives of more than 200 large U.S. corporations, Reuters reported.

“They don’t understand why a plan in compliance with the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is the target of a lawsuit,” she told Reuters. “This is a major issue to our members.”

Ms. Ghazal added that there have been conversations at the most senior levels of the administration about the issue.

Business Roundtable members are set to meet with the president on Tuesday to discuss the conflict in a closed-door meeting.

It is not certain whether or not the White House can stop the EEOC from continuing with the lawsuit, nor is it clear how many employers are considering taking action.

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