With this year’s dramatic changes in the nation’s leadership, baking industry groups predicted that the new administration would increase regulatory activity at a fast and furious pace. Events of recent weeks have demonstrated that this is not just fear mongering. In addition to climate change proposals, baking has major stakes in regulatory reform under consideration in wheat futures markets and in food safety regulations where actions are expected momentarily. While each of these issues is important, they are eclipsed by the drama unfolding over health care legislation.
The baking industry, as well as U.S. business generally, is in a difficult position with regard to health care. The current employer-based system generally has many great qualities but is not viewed as on a sustainable path. Bakers and most other businessmen fear that proposed reforms in the name of correcting existing flaws could disrupt these positives. For a labor-intensive business like baking, it is crucial that reforms avoid putting excessive burdens on the business community.
The resistance by a group of conservative Democrats to rushing legislation through before the August recess offers a glimmer of hope that greater caution will guide Congress as health care reform is considered.