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Health care law whistleblowers gain protections under OSHA

OSHA protects health care law whistleblowers

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published a final rule to protect whistleblowers who raise concerns about potential violations under the health care law.

The final rule relates to the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to add provisions protecting employees against retaliation by an employer for engaging in certain protected activities, namely for receiving a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reductions under the ACA.

Since 2015, certain large employers must either offer affordable health coverage or be subject to an employer-shared responsibility payment payable to the Internal Revenue Service if any full-time employee receives a premium tax credit for coverage through an exchange. The relationship between the employee’s receipt of the tax credit and the potential employer payment could create an incentive for an employer to retaliate against an employee, according to the final rule.

The ACA and the final rule protect employees against such retaliation, as well as retaliation for actions such as informing government officials of or testifying about potential ACA violations.

“This rule reinforces OSHA’s commitment to protect workers who raise concerns about potential violations of the consumer protections established by the Affordable Care Act or who purchase health insurance through an exchange,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels said Tuesday in a statement.

The final rule establishes procedures and timeframes for hearings before U.S. Department of Labor administrative law judges in ACA retaliation cases, review of those decisions by the Department of Labor Administrative Review Board and judicial review of final decisions.










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