by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Workers who already have health coverage through their employer are afraid of being dumped into Obamacare exchanges against their wishes, according to a Monday poll.
The Morning Consult found that 63 percent of workers are at least somewhat concerned that their employers will end their current health insurance programs and shift workers into Obamacare exchanges instead.
A majority of workers also believe that moving to the government exchanges would lower the quality of their health care. Fifty-one percent think the quality of their coverage would drop if they were shifted into the exchanges; meanwhile, just 16 percent think it would improve. Any shift would make 52 percent of workers consider looking for a new job.
The idea of employers getting rid of their own health coverage and sending workers to exchanges isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. A 2010 University of Minnesota paper argued that both employers and workers could benefit from such an arrangement, which would amount to “shifting health care expenses on to the public at large,” according to Kaiser Health News.
Reports emerged earlier this year that some businesses were expressing interest in the idea of moving their sickest, most costly workers to Obamacare exchanges. But the idea was supposedly quashed by an Obama administration ruling in May that allows the IRS to fine employers $36,500 a year per employee shifted to the exchange.
But employees don’t buy it. Whether it’s a lack of faith in the Obama administration’s dedication to enforcing its new rule or fear that companies will pay the fine in order to reap larger savings from ending their own coverage, workers are still afraid of being forced into the exchanges, which are not the most popular part of the law.