As House and Senate leaders struggle to find common ground on healthcare reform legislation, employer groups are working to ensure that retiree drug subsidies and federal safeguards under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) do not get lost in the shuffle.

While a conference committee usually reconciles differences in bills, the Congress is expected this time to act informally to forge a compromise health reform bill. As recently as Jan. 5, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said lawmakers were "very close" to resolving differences between the two measures and sending a final version to President Barack Obama.

The American Benefits Council has teamed with the AFL-CIO to fight a key proposal in both the House and Senate bills that would repeal the business tax deduction for federal subsidies on most retiree prescription drug plans.

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