Republicans have now seized on a new survey of employers which found that “at least 30 percent of companies say they will ‘definitely or probably’ stop offering employer-sponsored coverage” once a new ACA provision requiring businesses with workers receiving subsidies in the exchanges to pay a fee or offer coverage takes affect in 2014 and are using it to press their case against the new law:
- NEWT GINGRICH: “30%+ employers could eliminate coverage b/c Obamacarehttp://bit.ly/j1I3l8 So much for “if you like your coverage you can keep it”
- MICHELE BACHMANN: Will your employer be one of the 3 out of 10 employers who are likely to drop health coverage after #ObamaCare? http://tiny.cc/iq2qb #tcot
- JOHN BOEHNER: “As businesses begin planning for the onslaught of ObamaCare taxes, mandates, regulations, and penalties coming down the pike, many are left with two untenable choices: stop offering health care for their employees, or eliminate full-time jobs and keep wages low.”
I pointed out yesterday that this particular survey undermines other studies that have predicted that only a small number of employers would drop coverage, and suggested that if policymakers were truly interested in reducing the erosion of employer-sponsored coverage, then they should support adding an employer mandate to the Affordable Care Act.
But that aside, we’ve been seeing fluctuations in employer coverage rates long before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, as employers struggled with skyrocketing health care costs. Employer-sponsored health insurance “covered 58.9 percent of people under age 65 in 2009, down from 61.9 percent in 2008, and a total decline of 9.4 percentage points since 2000“:
The difference now is that we’ll probably see a much smaller drop, but any erosion will be matched by greater access — so that workers who lose their employer-sponsored coverage will actually have someplace to turn if their company decides to stop offering insurance. And of course those are the coverage options that Republicans are now seeking to repeal.