Survey: Employers Divided on Health Reform Impact

Article excerpt

Two years after Congress passed landmark health care reform legislation, employers are nearly evenly divided on whether the U.S. Supreme Court should repeal the law, according to a survey released in late March.

Forty percent of employers want the high court, which heard oral arguments March 26-28 on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to strike down the 2010 law. But an even greater percentage of employers--43 percent--do not want the justices to reject the law, while the remaining 17 percent said they didn't know, according to the survey of 437 employers conducted by the Midwest Business Group on Health and co-sponsored by the National Business Coalition on Health, Workforce Management and sister publication Business Insurance.

That such a large percentage of employers want the law struck down isn't surprising, said Andrew Webber, president and CEO of the Washington-based NBCH.

"This is a new world for employers. Until now, they have had pretty much of a free ride in how they design their plans," Webber said.

But under the health care reform law, some of that benefit design freedom is being taken away, while new administrative burdens are being added.

Employer opposition to the law also is a result of concern about the added costs they will face due to complying with various requirements imposed by the law, said Dan Pikelny, chairman of the MBGH board of directors.

Still, employers are far from being united in favor of repealing the law.

"There is no such thing as 'Obamacare,' " said Larry Boress, president and CEO of the Chicago-based MBGH, referring to the term some PPACA critics use when referring to the health care reform law.

Instead, the law has many different chapters. If it is repealed, provisions that many employers support and that have not cost very much--such as insurance market reforms, banning pre-existing medical condition exclusions and extending coverage to employees' adult children up to age 26--would be taken off the books, Boress said. …