Good News on ACA Implementation – Kind of

By July 3, 2013Health Care

Yesterday, the Administration announced, via blog post, that it would delay the collection of data needed to enforce the employer-mandate under the Affordable Care Act. This effectively means the employer-mandate, a bad idea from the start, has been postponed by a year. To be sure, this is good news – but it simply delays the inevitable with regard to the mandate. What the delay doesn’t do is halt or reverse the cost increases absorbed by employers and employees since the adoption of the law – nor does it prevent future increases.

In a recent survey of NAM members, well over 90 percent of those responding provide health insurance for their employees. When asked what their biggest challenge was in the coming year, 82 percent cited healthcare costs. The average increase businesses have seen in healthcare premiums is 8.5 percent in each of the last two years and the members in the survey expected their costs to go up an additional 14 percent next year. This is not good news, because those increases are permanent and have nothing to do with the employer mandate.

Anxiety about the Affordable Care Act is high among employers, so any relief is welcome. The Administration is to be commended for recognizing the burden more and more paperwork would place on businesses, though this result was clear to businesses when the ACA was passed, but let’s stay focused on the bigger issues – the cost of coverage has increased due to the ACA and nothing is being done to delay that.

Joe Trauger is Vice President of Human Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers

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