Nov 9, 2009
No employer will be mandated to provide insurance, and if they provide it, they won’t be mandated to provide more than a very low minimum of coverage. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office assumes that, if the bill passes, more employers will use it as a justification to dump insurance for their employees.
Yes, employers may have to pay a small “fee” if they don’t provide insurance. But there are tons of loopholes. In the Senate bill, the employer pays no fee for any employee who doesn’t buy insurance, pays no fee for any workers whose income is so low they qualify for Medicaid, etc.
Moreover, employers that do provide insurance can charge employees with chronic conditions up to 50% more for their part of the premiums if they don’t enlist in a “wellness program” and move toward meeting “targets” for controlling their diabetes, their blood pressure, their weight, etc.
This is being sold as an “incentive” for people to improve their health – despite the fact that medical experts say that such “incentives,” which are really penalties, lead to worse health, not better. Organizations like the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Diabetes Association have all lined up in the past to oppose such plans.
This “reform” is a gift to employers, an easy way to push more of the premium onto their employees.