House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn today released the following statement after President Obama announced that the Department of Health and Human Services will begin establishing the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, which is a part of the new health reform law. This temporary program will allow employers to provide coverage to early retirees.
"Over the years, the rising cost of health care has made it hard for employers to provide health care coverage to early retirees. The percentage of large firms providing workers with retiree coverage has dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 31 percent in 2008. Many early retirees find it hard to obtain affordable health care coverage until they are eligible for Medicare, and face enormous health care costs in the meantime.
"The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program eases the concerns of early retirees and their families by providing $5 billion in financial assistance to employers so that early retirees, age 55 and older, maintain health coverage. This program ends in 2014, when Americans will be able to choose from additional coverage options through the health insurance exchanges.
"As the American people start to see the benefits of health reform law, Congressional Republicans are seeking to repeal this law and deny early retirees the ability to obtain affordable health care. This temporary program is yet another example of how health reform law will better the lives of Americans across the country."