For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) today expressed serious concern with a major provision in the health policy paper released by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Republican Task Force on Health Care Reform. ERIC members support changes to the health care system to promote quality, affordable health insurance for Americans, but a major provision within the paper would threaten the employer-sponsored health insurance currently enjoyed by over 175 million Americans.
ERIC is the only national trade association advocating solely for the employee benefit and compensation interests of the country’s largest employers, who sponsor some of the largest private group health plans in the country. ERIC member companies are on the forefront of innovation to improve health care quality and reduce health care costs, leading the way with efforts to promote the use of health information technology, empower consumers to make better health care choices, ensure employees have coordinated care and patient-centered medical homes, and more.
“We are concerned that the Task Force paper proposes creating a new tax on benefits, and justifies this by suggesting that taxing health insurance will make health insurance cost less,” said James Gelfand, Senior Vice President of Health Policy, ERIC. “It’s an idea invented and advanced by academics, but the real-world consequences would mean lower pay for hardworking taxpayers. The policy rests on the myth that employer-sponsored health insurance is overly generous – that working families’ benefits need to be reduced, and that more costs need to be shifted to employees.”
The Task Force paper does include numerous ERIC-supported provisions that could help to reduce the costs of health care and health insurance, including medical liability reform, improvements to Health Savings Accounts, and preservation of the framework that enables large employers to offer uniform, national plans to employees no matter where they live, work, or receive medical care.
“ERIC looks forward to working with Congress to enact some of the important and forward-thinking provisions in the paper that could help contain health care costs, improve quality, and increase Americans’ access to insurance and care,” Gelfand continued. “However, a tax on benefits has no place in a conversation about improving the health care system, and it overshadows the many good ideas otherwise included. ERIC members and the business community are eager to partner with Congress and advance market-driven reforms that could make health care more affordable, effective, and accessible for every American.”