Surely, you’re aware of the breast-milk-pumping-at-work provision. No? Well, there’s that, and much more.
It’s inevitable that a 2,100-page piece of legislation would contain some nooks and crannies where senators could hide some of their pet causes. Some of those “little” provisions of the health bill — detailed in a Kaiser study — are minor and of limited scope, but some others really do affect employees and the workplace:
Nursing mothers. The provision mandates that employers would have to provide “reasonable” time and aprovate place for nursing mothers to express breast milk in the first year after giving birth. Exempted are companies with fewer than 50 employees if the requirement would impose “an undue hardship.”
Retiree health benefits. A section of the bill is aimed at cutting out-of-pocket costs for retirees who are under 65 and get health insurance from a former employer. The provision would create a temporary “reinsurance” program under which the government would pick up 80% of some high-cost insurance claims filed by retirees. Freed of many high-cost claims, employers would be expected to reduce retirees’ share of health premiums or other costs. This one has a real chance of making the cut, since it has wide support among employer groups, labor unions and retiree-advocacy groups.
Prescription drug pricing. This one’s aimed at pharmaceutical benefit managers, who administer drug plans for many Americans and their employers. Those benefit managers negotiate discounts on prescription drugs with retail pharmacies and wholesalers and also get rebates from drug makers. The Senate bill would force the benefit managers to disclose details of those negotiations – including how much of the savings were passed on to consumers. As you might imagine, groups representing the prescription benefit managers oppose the provision.