What is next for healthcare reform and the possible impact on the staffing industry?
Different versions of healthcare reform were passed by the House and Senate -- both could have meant fees for employers who didn't offer health insurance or whose plans did not meet certain requirements. However, as is now well known, the push for final legislation stalled when the Democrats lost the 60-vote super majority needed to pass healthcare reform in the Senate with the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts.
Healthcare reform remains stalled for the moment, yes, but don't count it out just yet. Advocates are still seeking ways to get it done, and President Obama is still a powerful and enthusiastic proponent. It's notable that he mentioned healthcare reform in his State of the Union speech, and, separately, that he has scheduled a healthcare summit for Republicans and Democrats on Feb. 25 to discuss healthcare reform legislation.
How important is this legislation? Well, the House version of healthcare reform could have imposed large costs on temporary staffing firms. The Senate's healthcare bill was amended to take into account the nature of temporary employment relationships and offered a degree of relief. Will any new version of healthcare reform still make exceptions for temporary staffing? The details will bear close watching.
Probably no one has tracked this legislation more closely than attorneys specializing in employment issues and those working for the American Staffing Association. Several of those experts will be key speakers at a panel on the legislative agenda during Staffing Industry Analysts' upcoming Executive Forum next month in Las Vegas. They include Alden Bianchi, member/attorney of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.; Ed Lenz, senior VP of public affairs and general counsel of the American Staffing Association; and Eric Rumbaugh, partner with Michael Best and Friedrich LLP.
The panel is scheduled to discuss healthcare reform as well as other legislation that may impact the staffing industry such as jobs legislation at the federal level, immigration, H-1B visas and the Employee Free Choice Act.