Why the Employer Mandate is So Important

James Capretta explains:

The employer mandate is one of the central provisions of ObamaCare. Without it, the legislation would never have passed Congress because CBO would have tagged it with much higher spending and large-scale migration out of employer coverage. That would have been enough to sink the entire legislative effort.

So what happens with a one year delay?

Today, the [Congressional Budget Office] provided updated projections of what the administration’s one-year delay (as well as related changes in the administrative process for adjudicating claims for federal subsidies) would mean for costs and coverage in coming years. CBO concluded that the administration’s decisions will increase the federal budget deficit over the coming decade by $12 billion. (Incidentally, the blog post from the Treasury Department announcing the mandate delay contained 478 words, so that’s about $25 million per word.) CBO also says the delay and related actions will mean one million people won’t get employer-sponsored health insurance in 2014, and about half of them will be left uninsured as a result. Even by ObamaCare standards, these are not minor consequences unless one cares nothing about federal deficits or how many people don’t have health insurance.

What if it gets suspended indefinitely?

CBO’s release today made it clear that the budget and coverage numbers would be far, far worse if the mandate delay extended beyond one year because employers and workers could adjust their plans without fear of having to undo them in a matter of months…

But is it a safe assumption that the employer mandate will get imposed in 2015? That would mean imposing the highly controversial 30-hour limit on part-time workers, and costly data reporting requirements for just about every employer in the country. These were the reasons the administration flinched in 2013. What are the chances they can withstand the pressure for delay that will inevitably build in the run-up to the 2014 mid-term election? If anything, businesses have been emboldened by what has transpired this year and likely to believe they can push the mandate back again next year if they apply enough pressure.

Comments (13)

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  1. Dewaine says:

    “unless one cares nothing about federal deficits”

    There are many people who don’t.

    • Dewaine says:

      “about half of them will be left uninsured as a result.”

      Although, I don’t think anybody would ignore this.

  2. Randall says:

    Is the employer mandate really all that important?

    • JD says:

      Vital. The plan was to force businesses to shoulder a significant load of the cost. Since there is also the individual mandate, if businesses don’t have to provide a certain level of coverage, then people will be forced into the exchanges or Medicare. Either way, everyone is being cattle-prodded into the same pen with what would increasingly become a single payer. Public costs will skyrocket, private choice will vanish.

      • Sal says:

        JD, I’d be interesting to see where your modeling predictions come from. Sure there will be a trend derived by your assertions, but you make some certain claims of what will end up happening in the future, so it’d be interesting to see what it’s based on.

  3. Howard says:

    So what are the chances that it will get suspended indefinitely?

  4. Bubba says:

    It was bound to happen anyway. I wonder if the Administration is basing its decision on the fact that taxing labor will stall job creating for the poorest workers?

    • JD says:

      I don’t think that they even believe that, or at the very least, they think that some other result justifies that burden. Although, I’m sure the reason is political, they may understand the chaos and pain that this whole thing will cause in the short-run and are making sure that it isn’t felt before the elections.

  5. Slim says:

    “The employer mandate is one of the central provisions of ObamaCare”

    -The employer mandate has shown to also be a impediment to the success of implementation!

  6. Slim says:

    “That would mean imposing the highly controversial 30-hour limit on part-time workers”

    -It’s amazing that President Obama would want to further hurt the job economy through legislation!

    • JD says:

      He might not see that as hurting the economy. A company would have to hire two workers to do the work of one, causing unemployment to go down. It is more of a “spread the wealth” idea that he favors.