Employers Support Preserving Employer-based Health System

February 25, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A survey by the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) found that major employers overwhelmingly favor health reform that builds upon the employer-based system and preserves the preemption provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

ERIC members were nearly unanimous (97%) in their support for the inclusion of a clause in reform legislation that would guarantee non-interference with ERISA’s preemption provisions. In addition, 92% of respondents said it was important to continue favorable federal tax treatment of employer-based plans.

A large majority of employers (72%) said a pay-or-play mandate on employers should not be included in health reform legislation (36% each said it was very important not to include and somewhat important not to include). Nearly all respondents opposed incentives that would encourage employees to purchase insurance outside of their employer’s plan (78% very important to not include, 14% somewhat important not to include).  

All respondents listed a breach of the ERISA preemption provisions, including legislation that would allow state waivers of ERISA’s protections, as an item that should not be included in health reform legislation (95% of respondents indicated that it was very important not to include and 5% of respondents indicated that it was somewhat important not to include).

In terms of overall health reform, 87% of ERIC members who responded favor passage of some form of health care reform.  The vast majority of respondents (73%) would support a “slimmed down” approach, (where only provisions receiving bi-partisan support would be included, and many of the financing mechanisms would be omitted), while only 14% of respondents favor a comprehensive bill. 

Other provisions supported by ERIC members include the cost containment strategies that have already been debated in Congress (73% very important to include, 24% somewhat important to include); reform of medical malpractice laws (49% very, 46% somewhat important); fostering the use of interoperable health information technology (11%,51%); and increasing HIPAA rewards to encourage participation in wellness programs (19%, 54%). 

The ERIC survey results are here.