The GOP has been pushing for delay and ultimate repeal of the so-called individual mandate in the wake of the Obama administration’s decision to postpone the “employer mandate” — which penalize large employers who don’t provide adequate coverage — for a year. “We should be thinking about giving the rest of America the same exemption that Obama last week gave businesses,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
But the two mandates aren’t exactly comparable. While the employer mandate only affects about 10,000 American businesses and one percent of workers, the individual mandate is a far more crucial Obamacare provision. According to an Urban Institute study, repealing it would cause the uninsurance rate to be a full 50 percent higher than it would be with full Obamacare implementation — which translates to an extra 13.7 million people without insurance:
On the other hand, the report finds that “eliminating the employer mandate has very little effect on the distribution of coverage; it remains virtually identical to the case when the full ACA is in effect.”
Many large businesses have already praised the administration’s decision to delay the employer mandate. “There’s been a lot of anxiety because of the unknown and this will give us time to work to figure out the rules in a way that will be as streamlined as possible,” Michelle Neblett, policy director for the National Restaurant Association, said in a recent interview with Politico.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing the individual mandate would raise premiums in the individual market by approximately 15 to 20 percent and increase the number of uninsured Americans by 16 million.