Pelosi Urges Democrats To Talk Up Health Care; Businesses Feel Early Impact Of Law
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doubling down on healthcare reform, betting that it will do Democrats more good than harm in November's elections," The Hill reports. "She and her leadership team have seized on new polls that suggest healthcare overhaul's popularity is rising, and they are urging members of Congress to use this week's recess to tout the new law. Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the party leadership have sent lawmakers back to their districts urging them to hold town hall-type meetings to highlight the law's benefits, in the belief it could help Democrats avoid major losses in November. Recent polls indicate a slow but steady uptick in the popularity of healthcare reform. Despite Republican hopes that the law's controversial passage will win them seats this fall, the Democrats' actions show they still consider the issue a political winner" (Lillis and Pecquet, 7/6).
Meanwhile, businesses are beginning to feel the impacts of the law.
Anxiety at tanning salons "has been running high ever since a 'tan tax' took effect Thursday," The Washington Post reports. "One of the less publicized measures in the new health-care law, the tax imposes a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet indoor tanning beds," which is intended to raise money to fund the insurance expansion and discourage tanning, which increases the risk of skin cancer. "But outraged tanning salon owners worry that the levy could deal a death blow to an industry already reeling from the recession. According to the Indoor Tanning Association, an industry trade group, most of the nation's 19,000 tanning salons are small businesses owned and staffed by women" (Aizenman, 7/6).
Kansas City Star/McClatchy: The law may also spur more office wellness programs. "In the last few years, corporate wellness programs have been fueled by employers' desire to curb increases in health care costs, cut back on absenteeism and make employees more productive. Even when other benefits were cut during the recession, experts say, companies continue to add wellness programs. Now, with health care reform ready to kick in, more employers are poised to dangle financial incentives and use creative measures to get their workers healthier. Beginning in 2014, under health reform, employers can offer greater incentives to employees for participating in corporate wellness programs or meeting certain health targets. Those incentives can include reduced premiums, cash rebates or merchandise. At least a third of U.S. companies already offer financial incentives or are planning to introduce them, [Kevin] Volpp, [director of University of Pennsylvania's Center for Health Incentives] said" (Goodman, 7/6).
Insurance Networking News: And while the insurance industry overall is losing jobs, the health insurance industry gained jobs from May to June. "As the health insurance industry readies itself for pending compliance requirements as a result of President Obama's health care reform initiatives, the health sector was the only industry segment that continues to experience growth in employment. That sector gained 1,100 jobs in since May 2009 to 436,500" (Speer, 7/6).