FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Caution Needed On Tax Code Change Proposal That Would Damage Healthcare Coverage For Retirees
Employer-Based Retiree Benefits Must Be Protected
(WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2007) Millions of America’s retirees would suffer if a change in the tax code caused the employer-based healthcare insurance system to eliminate benefits or resulted in higher taxes to those who can least afford them, according to A. J. (Jim) Norby, president of the National Retiree Legislative Network.
“Our nation’s leaders must see to it in the impassioned debate over the future of America’s healthcare insurance system that retirees receiving employer-based benefits they have earned are not harmed,” Norby cautioned.
President Bush has proposed to alter the tax code that has provided certain tax benefits for healthcare insurance provided by employers over coverage bought outside the workplace by individuals and families.
Norby, whose organization voices the concerns of the 54 percent of retirees who receive employer-based benefits, said the NRLN does not oppose the uninsured receiving a tax break to entice them to buy their own insurance. But he warned that retirees’ rights should not be trampled in the process of assisting more Americans to obtain healthcare coverage.
“When members of Congress examine President Bush’s proposal, they must exercise vigilance that legislation does not give employers a way out of providing the healthcare benefits they have committed to their retirees,” Norby said. “Too many employers have already broken their promises to retirees and they should not receive any encouragement to further erode or eliminate retirees’ healthcare benefits.”
Norby said some in Washington, DC have the false impression that retirees from large companies have “gold-plated” healthcare insurance.
“While that may be true for some retired corporate executives, it is certainly not the case for the average worker who toiled long and hard in hopes of having decent healthcare coverage during his or her retirement years,” Norby said. “They shouldn’t be saddled with an extra tax burden for what they have rightfully earned through years of work. Nor should any new plan make it easy for companies to reduce retiree healthcare coverage to new but lower levels. New laws should protect already earned benefits and make healthcare available to others.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the NRLN is dedicated to securing federal legislation that will guarantee the fair and equitable treatment of retirees in the private and public sector. The NRLN represents a non-partisan, grass roots coalition of retiree associations with a combined membership of some two million men and women who are seeking to protect their pension and healthcare benefits. For more information, visit the NRLN Web site at www.nrln.org. # # #