After the economy and jobs, Americans rate health care as their top public policy concern. And the majority of Americans (54 percent) disapprove of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to the Pew Research Center.
No one understands the frustrations of our health care system quite like manufacturers. In the National Association of Manufacturers’ most recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, rising health care and insurance costs ranked as a top business challenge among NAM members (74.8 percent), slightly ahead of an unfavorable business climate (73.6 percent). There are a host of factors that lead to this frustration, and many feel trapped in a problem that is of the government’s making.
Americans deserve better than this. We are a nation that prides itself on first-class, best-in-the-world medical care. Our institutions, public and private, continue to lead the world on patient care, lifesaving treatments and medical research. But we have to keep working to control or lower the cost of coverage through reasonable approaches.
So manufacturers, through our “Competing to Win” agenda and health care policy blueprint, are calling on the next Congress and administration to find solutions that will successfully eliminate the costliest and most problematic aspects of the ACA:
- The 40 percent tax on employee benefits and other mandated taxes
- Onerous administrative requirements
- Upward pressure on medical liability costs
Manufacturers also believe reform should have some key goals:
- Encourage flexibility and data sharing
- Allow for new innovations in coverage options rather than locking in one model
- Provide consumers more information to make better choices
Manufacturers recognize that providing health care coverage is a necessity to remain competitive in attracting talent and maintaining a healthy, stable workforce. It’s what is right for employees.
Ninety-eight percent of manufacturers offer health insurance to employees, and when asked about how they might react to increasing costs for offering health care in an NAM survey of members, only 1.6 percent planned to stop providing coverage.
Without action from our leaders, manufacturers have innovated with their own solutions to improve health care:
- Opting for new plans and payment arrangements
- Bringing medical care, pharmacy services and wellness programs on-site or near-site
- Focusing on addressing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and asthma
If President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congress follow manufacturers’ lead, our people and our economy will be healthier for it.
This blog is part of the NAM’s “12 Days of Transition” series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.