Now that the election is behind us, large employers can begin to contemplate what this will mean for the future of employer-sponsored health insurance. Will the Affordable Care Act be dismantled, forcing the country to “start over” on health reform? Will the taxes and mandates in it be rolled back? These questions will permeate during the coming months.
From an employer perspective, last night was going to be a win no matter what. After all, both candidates for president have agreed to repeal the 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage, better known as the “Cadillac” tax. The challenge now will be to ensure follow-through. ERIC will continue to work with Congress to repeal the tax and prevent it from being replaced with another equally burdensome tax on health benefits.
In an ideal world, we would now start talking about repealing the onerous, job-killing, unnecessary employer mandate. ERIC and our members hope that this conversation does take place. But at the very least, there should now be broad agreement between Capitol Hill, the Administration, and the business community that it’s time to reform and roll back the extremely expensive and burdensome reporting requirements. Neither employers nor employees are served well by millions of dollars being wasted just to prove that we offer health insurance to the more than 175 million people who enjoy employer-sponsored health plans. There are bipartisan bills that would help in this space, and Congress should stop arguing and pass them immediately.
For someone seeking health insurance, the employer-sponsored system is the absolute best place to be. It’s going to be important for employers, and their representatives, like ERIC, to make sure that the new Administration knows about all the value and innovation we bring to the table. Employees are better off with employers involved, and the worst place to be is on your own, trying as an individual or family to negotiate with insurance companies. Any changes to the health care system need to preserve, promote, and improve the employer-sponsored system – and if changes are proposed that would harm this system, ERIC will fight them with everything we’ve got.