Nearly half of all Americans receive health insurance benefits from an employer. And manufacturers in particular take great pride in offering health coverage to their employees—ninety-seven percent of NAM members provide health insurance to their workers and families. It’s not only a matter of doing the right thing; it’s also about keeping employees healthy and productive in a globally competitive economy. Furthermore, employees are grateful for the benefits provided to them. A 2015 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) study found that only 9 percent of employees were unsatisfied with their health care plans.
Since World War II, employers have been actively engaged in providing health care to their employees. First as basic coverage, but today that has grown into coverage for vison and dental plans, wellness and even on-site clinics. Despite the mandates, additional regulation and taxes imposed on employers as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), manufacturers are proud to provide health care, and many work against the odds to continue to do so.
Manufacturers are active purchasers of insurance, and they use their purchasing power to innovate, improve health care outcomes, encourage wellness and do their best to keep costs low in spite of rising premiums. The current system is not without its flaws, and reforms are needed. However, the employer-based health care system covering more than 175 million Americans should not be penalized as some in Congress seek efforts to limit the employer tax exclusion to address new health care alternatives. We strongly agree that there are unsustainable aspects in a post-ACA world and urge Congress to work with employers. Furthermore, the employer market allows for cost containments in health care to be stewarded by the private sector, whereas the individual market may not provide for the purchasing power to promote innovations, such as wellness initiatives. Undermining the very essence of the employer-based system risks an outcome that falls into the hands of the single-payer advocates and those who pushed the ACA six years ago.
If only 9 percent of employees are unsatisfied with their health care plans as studies show, then limiting the underlying structure of the employer-sponsored health care system will ensure that there is no way for Americans who like their plans to keep them.
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