Many Business Leaders Don't Think Employer-based Coverage is Sustainable

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 25, 2009

More than 60% of 300 business leaders at companies providing health insurance to their employees say the employer-based health insurance model is unsustainable in the long run, and more than one-third of them support a single-payer health plan, according to a new Zogby International poll.

"When over 60% of respondents believe the employer-based system is not sustainable, that is a clear signal that the time for reform is now," said Charles Kolb, president of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Committee for Economic Development, an organization of more than 200 business leaders and university presidents, which sponsored the poll. "This poll reveals that business leaders are open to comprehensive healthcare reforms that move away from employer-based coverage.

The survey tested support for several healthcare reform proposals and found that:

  • 60.3% support a market-based system of competing plans, where the government organizes a menu of private insurance plans from which each individual may choose.

  • 54% of business leaders support an independent Federal Health Board modeled on the Federal Reserve Board.

  • 36% support a "single-payer" system.

  • 45.3% support an individual market with subsidies for those with low incomes.

  • 43.3% support an employer-based system, with a public option where firms are required to provide coverage or pay into a fund that would subsidize insurance for those who do not receive it at work. Meanwhile, 50.3% oppose this option.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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