House Committee Spars Over Employer Mandate

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , July 11, 2013

Jost countered that the penalty doesn't apply to the first 30 employees receiving a subsidy. "The discount was created to mitigate against potential disincentives to grow a business above 50 workers."

But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) stated that employers are comparing the cost of the penalty versus the cost of offering insurance and he expects competition to force employers to dump a lot of employees on the exchanges.

Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) responded that he expects competition to have the opposite effect. "They make a business calculation that it's good for [employee] recruitment and retention. And it's just the right thing to do."

Dennis of the NFIB noted that PPACA defines affordable coverage as less than 9.5% of household income. "No employer wants to ask employees about household income for legal, ethical, and human relations reasons."

Rep. Kind stated that 93% of the NFIB membership has fewer than 40 employees. "They wouldn't even be impacted by the employer mandate."

The committee ventured into a discussion of what other aspects of PPACA might also face a delay in implementation.

"The administration is in triage mode," said Jost. "They don't have the resources to implement all of the provisions on time. The way this law was intended to be implemented the states were going to take much of the responsibility." Since that hasn't happened, the administration has a bigger job on its hands.

"I think the administration is under a lot of pressure," added Jost. "I think they are trying to decide what needs to be done right now and what can wait a little bit. I think they are going to focus on what is absolutely essential?the individual premium tax credits, the individual mandate, and getting the exchanges up and running."

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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