August 24, 2014 by David K. Sutton
Obamacare Critics Wrong On Employer-Provided Health Care
One of the many darts thrown by Obamacare critics, was that companies would stop offering health care benefits, instead sending their employees to the federal or state exchanges to shop for insurance plans. So far, that critique of the Affordable Care Act has yet to materialize.
Since rising healthcare costs have been a nettlesome and unpredictable business expense, it seemed logical that some companies, at a minimum, would cancel insurance plans for employees, forcing them to buy coverage on one of the new public exchanges. Some experts even predicted Obamacare would doom the employer-based system that’s been in place since the 1950s, eventually forcing most Americans onto a government-run exchange.
Nothing of the sort is happening. A recent survey of employers by consulting firm Towers Watson found that 95% of companies say offering subsidized healthcare coverage to workers will be a key part of the compensation packages they offer for the foreseeable future.
I am of two minds on this news. One region of my brain see critics of Obamacare proven wrong yet again, and is delighted. And I’m not referring to people who have legitimate critiques of the law, and I include myself part of that group. I’m talking about the people who are against the ACA for political and ideological reasons, or because they hate President Obama.
But another part of my mind grapples with concern that the Affordable Care Act may serve to solidify the employer-provided health care “system,” something that has never really resembled a system, is discriminatory, and has resulted in tens of millions of uninsured Americans. If that happens, it will further delay what most of us on the left know is inevitable — that we will one day have a single-payer system in America. American companies should welcome a single-payer system because it would put them on even footing, removing a burden their foreign competitors do not face operating in countries that provide true universal health care.
As I said, I have sensible criticisms of the ACA, and one of my biggest concerns is that it does little to address incredibly inflated costs of services and materials in the health care industry. It does nothing to reform the “charge masters” that hospitals use to essentially discriminate against people of lower economic status, charging patients without insurance more than they charge to patients with insurance.
With its many positive patient reforms in mind, I still fear the ACA will do more to cement the for-profit health care status quo into place, and not be the catalyst that unshackles patients from an archaic, inefficient, and discriminatory health care insurance model.