by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
…until the individual health insurance exchanges under Obamacare are scheduled to open for enrollment.
While the federal health law’s supporters should be embarrassed that the Obama Administration has failed to implement its employer mandate by its statutory deadline, they instead defend the misstep by claiming that the delay is no big deal.
“You’ve got 5.7 million firms in the U.S.,” says Wharton’s Mark Duggan, who served as the top health economist at White House’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2009 to 2010. “Only 210,000 have more than 50 employees. So 96 percent of firms aren’t affected. Then if you look among those firms with 50 or more employees, something on the order of 95 percent offer health insurance. So it’s basically 10,000 or so employers who have more than 50 employees and don’t offer coverage.” Those companies probably employ around one percent of American workers.
However, Ezra Klein, Washington Post columnist and Obamacare advocate, responds:
But that’s still a lot of employers, and a lot of workers
It doesn’t matter if these businesses already offer coverage to workers, because this coverage may not be federally qualified – and will have to be starting in 2015. Employers will still have to foot a higher bill or reduce the number of workers or hours to avoid penalties – yet another reason why Obamacare is not a “jobs program”.