Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Butler has been replaced as chief of the LSU division that oversees most of
the state’s public hospitals, including LSU’s
System Vice President Fred Cerise said Monday he transferred LSU System health-care
executive Roxane Townsend into
The personnel moves are part of LSU’s efforts to reorganize the way it manages and operates 10 public hospitals and two medical centers.
Cerise said the action was brought by changes in the public health-care climate, including uncertain state funding and federal health-care reform efforts.
of the public hospitals fall within the LSU’s Health Care Services Division,
He will concentrate “full-time” on beefing up disease management programs, which are becoming a major thrust of new federal efforts to improve patient health and reduce costs, Cerise said.
“It’s taking an area he is very strong in that’s going to be very important for us going forward,” Cerise said.
Cerise said Townsend will help with a review of operations of the Health Care Services Division to investigate where change could be made to improve efficiencies.
A report, with recommendations, is expected to be made to the LSU Board of Supervisors in the next couple of months, Cerise said.
“We are looking at the status of the Health Care Services Division. … I’ve asked Roxane to look at it and make some recommendations. … We are taking a hard look at the organization from a system perspective,” Cerise said.
Cerise alerted hospital administrators, medical directors and Health Care Services Division central office staff of the job changes in a Thursday memo — the day before the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.
“Change such as these invariably raise many questions and cause anxiety,” Cerise wrote.
“The changes being enacted and being contemplated at LSU are directed toward strengthening us as a system of two health science centers, ten hospitals and associated clinics so we can further our patient care, education and research missions.”
noted “uncertainties” surrounding the future of LSU’s two largest campuses in
On the federal level, he said health-care reforms “would put added emphasis on clinical performance and sound, efficient business practices” and LSU must be ready.
By Melody Brumble
Shriners delegates meeting in
"As you can imagine, our staff are thrilled and relieved that the decision was made to keep all of our hospitals in operation. Certainly there has been a great deal of anxiety over the past few months as plans have evolved and the voting agenda set, and today our staff and families have been able to breathe a welcome sigh of relief," said Christian Berg, a spokesman for Shriners Hospital in Shreveport.
administrator Kim Green, who's at the meeting in
The six hospitals faced closure because an endowment that provides money to operate the 22-hospital system has shrunk due to the economy.
Delegates will allow the six hospitals to explore partnerships with state-run or for-profit hospitals and other ways to cut costs.
neither side has discussed details about a possible arrangement. Officials
LSUHSC-S spokeswoman Elaine King said news about the delegates' vote is "certainly positive for our community, especially our children.
Shreveport Shriners hospital, opened in 1922,
provides free orthopedic care to children from around the region and the
The vote by some 1,500 Shriners delegates came Monday afternoon after "very lengthy debate," Yopp said.
"The delegates were very emotional about it, but I think the general consensus was we're going to have to do something about our cost overruns," he said.
"I think all of the Shriners hospitals for children are going to try to make every buck count."
Dr. Robert Barish: LSUHSC earns high marks in research
Robert A. Barish
Independent confirmation that the LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport conducts research involving volunteers at the highest ethical level places its clinical research program on par with those of other premier U.S. research institutions like Johns Hopkins, Harvard and Vanderbilt.
are especially pleased that we are the first academic health center in
For years researchers at LSUHSC-S have been committed to employing the highest ethical standards when it comes to protecting individuals whose desire to help advance medical treatments have led them to voluntarily participate in clinical research. Now the high standards applied by LSUHSC-S researchers are officially recognized by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs Inc. (AAHRPP).
it achieved this certification, LSUHSC-S joined an elite group of
institutions around the country. Only three in
this designation represents an important milestone for LSUHSC-S in its quest
to document its leadership among its national peers, it has added
significance for the public. Individuals currently enrolled in or considering
participation in one of the hundreds of clinical research trials currently
being conducted at the
Clinical trials are essential to the advancement of medicine. Without the findings of these important studies, new medications and treatment options could not be explored, developed and placed on the market. Simply put, the therapies that improve quality of life and even potential life-saving options would never become reality.
Currently nearly 600 clinical research studies are being conducted at LSUHSC-S by investigators whose specialties include neurology, pediatrics, psychiatry and internal medicine. These investigators lead research teams who work tirelessly to help prevent and reduce the effects of devastating diseases such as Alzheimer's, bipolar disorder and cancer.
Public trust in research is crucial if we are to recruit volunteers. Any clinical research study hinges on enrolling an adequate number of volunteers who meet study criteria and agree to participate. It was on their behalf that LSUHSC-S began the rigorous process of securing AAHRPP accreditation. We are confident that this designation will provide participants with an even stronger sense that the research being conducted at LSUHSC-S always puts their well being first.
Continuous quality improvement of LSUHSC-S research programs is one of our core commitments to the public. Our researchers continue to answer questions that will provide clearer insight into the human body and the complex diseases that afflict so many. Reducing pain and suffering while increasing mobility and quality of life for adults and children — for this and future generations — is the challenge that enthusiastic LSUHSC-S clinical researchers have accepted.
With that in mind, we encourage the public to learn if there is clinical trial in progress at LSUHSC-S for which they might be eligible. Please go to http://www.lsuhscshreveport.edu/clinicaltrialsoffice/documents/opened-trialsb.html or call 318-813-2056 and one of our staff will help you determine if there is a clinical trial for which you may qualify. Rest assured that just as previous volunteers have been vital to development of existing therapies, your participation will help to further advance medical knowledge and that your privacy and safety will always be paramount.
Robert A. Barish is chancellor of
Letter: European versus
this April 2, 2009 file photo, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max
Baucus, D-Mont., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Charles
Grassley, R-Iowa talk on Capitol Hill in
WASHINGTON -- Key Senate Democrats and the White House are closing in on a deal with hospitals to help pay for President Barack Obama's proposed expansion of health coverage, at the same time they hope for a comprehensive agreement with Republicans on a bipartisan bill.
Several officials said Monday that after talks involving the White House and Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the nation's hospitals were on the verge of signing off on a deal to reduce their anticipated payments from Medicare and Medicaid by about $155 billion over a decade. The government then would be free to use the money to help provide health coverage to millions who now lack it.
The officials said a formal White House announcement was possible as early as Wednesday, with Vice President Joseph Biden standing in for a traveling president. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the confidential nature of the discussions.
Separately, Baucus and other Democrats on his panel have been negotiating for days with Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and a small group of other Senate Republicans in hopes of agreeing on a bill that could command bipartisan support.
Baucus, a Montana Democrat, is under pressure to draft legislation quickly so Democrats can keep to a timetable calling for a vote in the Senate within the next several weeks.
At the same time, Grassley faces political pressure from some Republicans opposed to handing Obama and the Democrats a bipartisan victory on such a key issue.
One key sticking point has involved the demand by some Democrats for the government to offer insurance in competition with private companies. Republicans strongly oppose the idea. Possible compromises include creation of a nonprofit cooperative to compete with insurance companies, rather than empowering the federal government to do it.
Democrats and Republicans also would have to agree on what, if any, requirement the legislation would impose on individuals to purchase insurance, and on large employers to subsidize it for their workers.
A second Senate committee is expected to complete work on its version of health care legislation within several days.
Separately, Democrats in the House hope to unveil a revised bill of their own later this week.
Any legislation is expected to require insurance companies to sell insurance to any customer, without denial or higher rates because of pre-existing medical conditions. Government subsidies would help the poor afford coverage.
As many as 50 million Americans now lack insurance, and Obama has said he wants to assure coverage for as many as possible. At the same time, he has set a goal of slowing the growth of health care overall.
The legislation has moved in fits and starts, and while it is unlikely any bill makes it to the president's desk for months, Obama and his aides have been cheered by two public developments in recent weeks.
In the first, the nation's pharmaceutical companies agreed to an $80 billion package to help close a gap in prescription drug coverage under Medicare and defray the cost of any legislation that passes.
Last week, Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer, broke with other big firms and said it supports a requirement for many companies to offer health care to their workers.
Louisiana Supreme Court has generally protected the public's right to access
government records. That's why it's puzzling that the justices punted in a
case seeking the release of investigative files related to post-Katrina
Attorney General Charles Foti's probe led to 2006
charges that Dr. Anna Pou had euthanized patients
at the Uptown hospital. But a
The Supreme Court, however, ordered 19th Judicial District Court Judge Donald Johnson to decide whether any future charges against Dr. Pou "can be reasonably anticipated" before the justices determine whether the investigation's file should be released. Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball wrote the majority opinion, and Justices Bernette Johnson and John Weimer concurred.
The justices' question, however, was answered two years ago.
The attorney general's office and the Orleans Parish district attorney's office both said in 2007 that they would not pursue the matter further. And after a five-day trial in 2007, Judge Johnson said no additional prosecution could be reasonably anticipated. Nothing has changed to suggest the contrary.
So the Supreme Court in essence set a ruling on the public's access aside only to order a repeat of the same process Judge Johnson held two years ago. That's an unnecessary delay. As Justice Jeffrey Victory wrote in a dissenting opinion, there is no reason to hold a hearing on that issue again.
Instead, the justices should have ordered the immediate release of the investigative documents. Almost four years have passed since the patients died at the hospital. That's a long time for Louisianians to wait for access to the records of the investigation.
public has a right to see what's in those documents. So do the relatives of
the patients who died and those who defended the actions of the medical personnel.
The Supreme Court missed a chance to recognize that public right. The justices should not miss that opportunity again when the case returns to their court.
By PAUL BASKEN
Federal regulators on Monday set new rules for government financing of stem-cell research. The rules will allow such work if a review panel determines that couples gave the necessary “informed consent” for the use of their embryos. Scientists will get the chance to demonstrate to the review panel that older cell lines, created during the past decade and crucial to continuing research, meet this ethical standard.
The creation of a review panel, as part of final guidelines for stem-cell research issued by the National Institutes of Health, resolved one of the major complaints of scientists awaiting the implementation of President Barack Obama’s March 9 promise to allow expanded federal support of stem-cell research.
The new federal policy “will greatly expand opportunities for stem-cell research and will ensure that NIH-funded research using human embryonic stem cells will be conducted in an ethical and responsible way,” said Raynard S. Kington, acting director of the NIH, in a briefing for reporters.
The NIH guidelines, which take effect Tuesday, won immediate endorsement from researchers and university groups, including the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Association of American Universities.
The policy reflects “a thoughtful and balanced approach,” said David T. Scadden, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
Embryonic stem cells, because of their potential to grow into any of more than 200 types of tissue in the body, raise the possibility of cures for a range of ailments that include cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.
Former President George W. Bush, siding with those who believe any potential human life form should be preserved, ruled on August 9, 2001, that federal money could not be involved in any projects using embryonic stem cells created after that date. Mr. Obama announced his intention to overturn Mr. Bush’s policy in March and asked the NIH to draft detailed rules for stem-cell use.
Those new rules say that, from today forward, the government will provide money for embryonic-stem-cell research only when the couple who produced the embryo can be shown to have fully understood the scientific implications and have given clear approval.
For stem-cell lines that originated before Tuesday, the NIH will establish a review committee of about 10 science and ethics specialists who will decide whether the embryonic stem cells were “derived responsibly,” Dr. Kington said.
reviews will determine whether principles of informed consent “have been met
even if every specific detail outlined in the final policy was not followed,”
Dr. Kington said. In the case of stem-cell lines
from foreign sources, the committee will determine if the country’s consent
standards “are at least equivalent” to the
The result is a policy “much more workable and practical” than scientists had feared, Dr. Scadden said. “The panel still needs to be named,” he said, “but experience thus far suggests that this administration appoints those with substantive credentials.”
The NIH will also establish a registry of approved lines. “That will make the process much simpler for institutions and individual investigators,” Dr. Scadden said.
The federal government is now spending about $88-million a year to support embryonic-stem-cell research. The spending could actually decline this year because of delays while awaiting the new NIH policy but should then grow substantially in future years, Dr. Kington said.
Re: "Jindal slashes mental health," Other Opinions, July 2.
policy decision to consolidate inpatient services of
Thirty-seven percent of the people treated at SELH are from the south shore already, and services at SELH cost half of what NOAH costs per day. Simply, the same inpatient services will be available at a savings to taxpayers of nearly $10 million annually.
advocacy by some, including Rep. Neil Abramson, to gut the funding of NOAH by
nearly $6 million, and move an additional $10.2 million away from SELH would
result in the potential loss of as many as 50 inpatient beds in the region.
The same people also advocate cutting $4 million from intensive outpatient
programs, which are serving families and children in a 17-parish region,
Gov. Jindal's veto pen stopped what would have been a terrible decision made only in the frantic last hours of the Legislature and without public debate on the damage it would do.
the tragic death of Officer Nicola Cotton brought the systemic failure and
neglect of the
These programs are serving hundreds of people, while the inpatient beds at NOAH only served 70 children last year at a daily cost of twice the other mental health institutions. The fact is, by thinking differently, we can serve the same number of inpatients while expanding critical outpatient services.
Proper stewardship is not about making popular decisions. It's about looking at the facts and asking how we can do it better based on the evidence.
Department of Health and Hospitals
might feel downright svelte compared to
It will take more than improving what children eat during the school day to address the national obesity epidemic. People of all ages need to eat better and exercise more. But American adults are poor role models on this issue, and schools should play an active role in helping children grow up healthy and physically fit.
Democrats beware! If you're not fully supporting President Obama's health care overhaul, liberal advocacy groups have you in their sights.
As the August congressional recess looms and the final details of the health care plan take shape, the groups have unleashed a series of hard-hitting attack ads against Democrats while mostly ignoring Republicans.
Congress is raising money to go after Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana
Democrat, using one of her own constituents to ask, "Will Landrieu sell
"Our pressure campaign targeting Landrieu has great momentum, but so far, her public position has not moved. So we have a choice: Walk away from the fight or escalate the pressure? For us, the choice is easy," the group told supporters.
new ad stars Karen Gadbois, an uninsured
"For me, this issue is personal. So when I see Mary Landrieu take $1.6 million from health and insurance companies and then oppose the public option for my daughter and me, I have to ask: Whose side are you on?" she says, looking straight into the camera with scenes of vacant New Orleans homes behind her on the screen.
The most contentious sticking point concerns the public option Mr. Obama says he wants included in the plan — which has a more than $600 billion price tag.
Republicans call a public option a deal breaker, while many conservative Democrats are backing away from the idea — favored by liberals — for fear it would harm private insurance companies.
Landrieu spokesman Aaron Saunders declined to comment on the ads but said his boss is reviewing all the proposals on the table. Mr. Saunders said Ms. Landrieu is open to compromise but "supports a predominantly private system that features a federal backup plan that serves as a safety net" and added that she "does not believe that health care reform starts with a public option."
He also noted that since the ads have started, the majority of calls to her office have been in opposition to a public option, not in favor of one.
groups such as MoveOn.org and Democracy for
When asked by The Washington Times about the ads last week, White House Press Secretary Robert L. Gibbs said the president doesn't have "much to say" about the groups' efforts.
A few days later, the White House was forced to intervene, and Mr. Obama reportedly told members of Congress on a conference call that the ads aren't helpful.
"The president had the right tone, telling people this has to be more about the bigger challenge of continuing to make the case for why health care reform is needed," said Sen. Mark Warner, a freshman Democrat from Virginia.
Mr. Warner told The Times he has heard from liberal groups that strongly want a public option and opponents who call that government-run health care, though he hasn't been targeted specifically yet because he hasn't staked out a firm position on that element of the proposal.
He said he doesn't think the ads against conservative Democrats were helping.
"I'm not sure that's going to switch anybody's vote," he said.
But in at least one case, the targeted campaigns seem to be working — MoveOn scrapped plans to attack freshman Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina when she reversed her position and now says she will back the bill that includes a public option.
MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben went
as far as thanking Ms. Hagan, saying the group's members in
Change Congress hasn't relented in its campaign against Ms. Landrieu and
found success in targeting Sen. Ben Nelson, a conservative Democrat from
Democrats also are using intensely personal stories to sell the plan, putting everyday people in front of the camera to talk about their experience losing health insurance.
son has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. He's four," one woman says in the
Mr. Warner said the public option argument is semantical and lawmakers and advocacy groups should be more focused on costs and cutting the deficit.
He predicted the president will sign a bill in the fall but it might not be perfect the first time around.
"Whatever bill is passed, chances are there is going to be a need to come back and take a look at it and fix it," Mr. Warner said. "You're not going to get this 100 percent right the first time out of the chute, but the option of doing nothing … just isn't an option."
Mr. Warner said he's still closely examining the bill as it takes shape on Capitol Hill, and he noted his interest in seeing a mixed public and private plan that encourages competition on a level playing field. Some larger employers such as Safeway and Delta are even crafting their own benefit plans, he said.
He said many Republicans are "trying to frighten people" that the Obama plan forces people to change their current health care plan even though it actually gives them an option to switch or keep plans they like.
By LAURA MECKLER and JANET ADAMY
"The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest," he said in an interview. "The goal is non-negotiable; the path is" negotiable.
President Barack Obama has campaigned vigorously for a full public option. But he's also said that he won't draw a "line in the sand" over this point. On Tuesday, the White House issued a statement reiterating his support for a public plan.
"I am pleased by the progress we're making on health care reform and still believe, as I've said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest," the president said in the statement. "I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals."
The jockeying over the public plan came as the Senate Finance Committee pushed for a bipartisan deal. To help pay for the package, the committee planned to announce an agreement Wednesday with hospitals and the White House for $155 billion over a decade in reductions to Medicare and charity-care payments for hospitals, according to a person familiar with the agreement. That will help pay for the legislation, expected to cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years.
One of the most contentious issues is whether to create a public health-insurance plan to compete with private companies.
Mr. Emanuel said one of several ways to meet Mr. Obama's goals is a mechanism under which a public plan is introduced only if the marketplace fails to provide sufficient competition on its own. He noted that congressional Republicans crafted a similar trigger mechanism when they created a prescription-drug benefit for Medicare in 2003. In that case, private competition has been judged sufficient and the public option has never gone into effect.
The deal with the hospitals follows a similar agreement with brand-name drug companies. And insurance companies were talking to Senate negotiators about cuts worth at least $100 billion over 10 years, according to two officials with knowledge of the negotiations.
Congressional negotiators and the White House hope to lock in support from the industry groups, which are backing a health bill in general terms but have opposed past efforts.
Hospitals and insurers hope to gain some degree of control over cuts to their federal payments. In principle, a health-care overhaul could benefit both groups by raising the number of Americans who buy and have health insurance.
"They've made an assessment reform is going to happen, so it's better to be part of that than not," Mr. Emanuel said.
However, insurers, and most Republicans, strongly oppose creation of a government-run insurance option, saying it would ultimately drive them out of business. Most Democrats support a public option.
The president and his aides already have signaled a willingness to consider an alternative to a public plan under which a network of nonprofit cooperatives would compete with for-profit insurance companies. That is the leading idea in the Senate Finance Committee.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, meanwhile, has put forward its own version of a government-run plan, closer to what most liberals and the White House favor.
On Monday, Mr. Emanuel said the trigger mechanism would also accomplish the White House's goals. Under this scenario, a public plan would kick in under certain circumstances when competition was judged to be lacking. Exactly what circumstances would trigger the option would have to be worked out.
Some Democrats pushing for a vigorous public plan say the trigger idea isn't good enough. Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) said in an interview, "If it's not there on day one, those of us who support a public option have a real problem with it."
Write to Laura Meckler at email@example.com and Janet Adamy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some familiar subjects are worth revisiting — like the fact that paying doctors for every test and procedure they do provides an incentive to do more tests and procedures. Sandeep Jauhar, a cardiologist, reflects on the subject in an essay in this morning’s New York Times.
Jauhar’s main job, at academic medical center, gives him a bit of a buffer against the financial pressures faced by docs in private practice. But he recently began moonlighting on Saturday mornings at a private practice, and the new gig is a stark reminder of the way medicine is a business — and the business does better when doctors do more tests. He writes:
A patient comes in with chest pains. It is hard not to order a heart-stress test when the nuclear camera is in the next room. Palpitations? Get a Holter monitor — and throw in an echocardiogram for good measure. It is not easy to ignore reimbursement when prescribing tests, especially in a practice where nearly half the revenue goes to paying overhead.
Health wonks have been trying for years to figure out a way to change the financial incentives for doctors, so that they’re paid more if they give better care, not if they give more care. That issue has become particularly pressing with this year’s push to expand health insurance coverage while controlling the costs of health care.
But finding a better way to pay doctors has proved tricky. As Jauhar himself noted in an essay last fall, paying doctors based on performance is harder than it sounds. He described a case in which a patient was quickly prescribed a daily intravenous drug to treat pneumonia, in keeping with a Medicare quality measure that requires treatment to begin quickly for patients with pneumonia. The only problem was the patient didn’t have pneumonia, and went on to develop a disease that may have been caused by the unnecessary antibiotics.
By JANET ADAMY
But the total cost of the health-care overhaul is likely to increase substantially once a key element to expand insurance coverage is added in.
Senate leaders on Thursday unveiled fresh details of legislation aimed at carrying out President Barack Obama's plans to cover the nation's 46 million uninsured. The new provisions call for all but the smallest employers to provide workers with health insurance or to pay the government an annual penalty of up to $750 per employee. The measure also sketches out new details of proposed government health insurance that individuals and small businesses could buy.
Last month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated an earlier draft of the bill would cost $1 trillion over a decade, a sum deemed too high by many lawmakers because it only decreased the number of uninsured by 16 million. Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is drafting the bill, reduced the cost by factoring in employers' contributions for health insurance, as well as reducing the subsidies lower-income workers would receive for purchasing health insurance.
The revised proposal isn't expected to trigger an exodus of Americans from employer-sponsored insurance, according to the CBO, as was the case with the earlier draft. The new plan gives employers more incentive to provide coverage, and prompts fewer people to buy coverage on their own because the subsidies for that are lower.
The new price tag is "a strong number that would allow us to achieve the president's goals," said Sen. Chris Dodd (D., Conn.), who is leading the panel in drafting the bill in the absence of committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.), who has been undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.
The latest proposal doesn't include provisions for a large number of uninsured Americans whom lawmakers intend to cover by expanding Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor, among other costs. The Senate health committee doesn't have jurisdiction over the Medicaid expansion, and it is relying on a parallel bill moving through the Senate Finance Committee to account for those people. As a result, the measure produced by Mr. Dodd's committee still leaves 34 million Americans without insurance.
"Expanding Medicaid will come with an enormous price tag," said a spokesman for Sen. Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.), the health committee's top Republican.
Mr. Dodd and other senators wouldn't estimate the cost of the proposed Medicaid expansion, and the Congressional Budget Office hasn't released those numbers. Part of the problem is that the cost of expanding Medicaid depends on other provisions still in the works in the finance committee.
Mr. Obama's push to create a new public health-insurance plan has become one of the most contentious aspects of the health overhaul. The latest draft of the bill calls for a public plan where the Department of Health and Human Services would have broad authority over how the plan pays health-care providers and covers participants. Senators who drafted the bill say the plan would be subject to many of the same rules as private insurers and would set premiums based on local costs.
The plan would pay health-care providers rates that are "no more than the local average private rates -- but could be less," the committee said in a summary of the plan. In a statement, Mr. Obama said the public option would "make health care affordable by increasing competition, providing more choices and keeping the insurance companies honest."
But the CBO estimate suggests the public option might not deliver significant savings to consumers. The public plan "was not projected to have premiums lower than those charged by private insurance plans" available to individuals and small businesses, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf wrote in a letter to Sen. Kennedy explaining the cost estimates.
The health bill's requirement that employers provide insurance or pay a penalty would raise an estimated $52 billion over a decade, according to the CBO. Employers would pay an annual fee of $750 for each full-time worker and $375 for each part-time worker if they didn't cover at least 60% of their employees' health-insurance premiums. The plan would exempt employers with 25 or fewer workers.
Some employers had been expecting a more onerous requirement.
Randy Johnson, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the business group still opposes any employer mandate, arguing that it would cause employers to lower wages and cut jobs. "That money comes out of somewhere else," he said.
Please email questions and comments to email@example.com.