Human Resources
Thought Leadership

2010 Legislative and Regulatory Year in Review and the Outlook for 2011

In 2010, President Obama succeeded in completing his administration’s signature domestic issue by enacting a comprehensive health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) (P.L. 111-148). Despite that victory, however, opponents of the health reform law advocated its repeal as a key campaign message in achieving the strong Republican election results in November 2010. And despite the economic stimulus law, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (P.L. 111-5), the economy continued to struggle through 2010, with continued high unemployment rates and slow economic activity in many sectors—yet another important contributing factor in the November 2010 election outcomes. Congress and the administration tried to ease the impact of the continued economic downturn with extensions of unemployment insurance benefits and federal subsidies for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage, as well as by providing modest defined benefit pension funding relief, and reforming regulatory oversight of the financial services sector in an attempt to prevent yet another financial meltdown in the future.

Despite these legislative achievements, 2010 was marked by bitter partisan battles in Congress. The close margins in the Senate (Democrats lacking the needed 60 votes) stalled many pieces of proposed legislation that would perhaps otherwise have gained support. In addition, a unified Republican party in the Senate was able to stave off legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Employee Free Choice Act.

Aon Hewitt is pleased to offer two reports. The first, the "2010 Legislative Year in Review and the Outlook for 2011," summarizes key legislative activity at the federal level in 2010 and discusses the legislative outlook for 2011, generally from the perspective of employer-sponsored employee benefit and HR programs. The second report, the "2010 Regulatory Year in Review," summarizes significant regulatory guidance issued in 2010.

2010 Legislative Year in Review and the Outlook for 2010

2010 Regulatory Year in Review