Congressional Republicans are taking sides with the Obamaadministration to try to fend off an Equal Employment OpportunityCommission assault on Obamacare-sanctioned wellness programs.

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Senate and House Republicans who support wellness plans thatreward participants who meet certain health objectives introduced abill to protect such employer programs from EEOC tampering.

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According to the news source The Hill, the bill “would clarifythe legality of the programs and 'eliminate confusion' caused bythe EEOC lawsuits,” its sponsors said.

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The EEOC has been kicking the tires on wellness plans for morethan a year, probing them for discriminatory elements. Among thethings the commission looks for: Does a wellness plan that rewardsone participant also “punish” another?

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In the case of the plan structure the GOPers are attempting todefend, participants who quit smoking or maintain healthycholesterol levels would be eligible to receive plan premiumreductions of as much as 50 percent. However, if the same plan wereto impose financial penalties on those that don't comply withcertain aspects of the plan, the EEOC has said, the plan would bediscriminatory and thus illegal.

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Representatives of the conservative Business Roundtable met with members of the administration inDecember to protest the line of litigation the EEOC has been pursuingagainst wellness plans. The GOP bill would seek to set specificlegal standards for the plans that would be impervious to thecommission's challenges.

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