Hearing Witnesses Say HCR Driving Up Employer Costs

March 10, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The chair of a U.S. House subcommittee said testimony his panel heard at a hearing Thursday supported the notion that the Obama Administration’s health care reform efforts have helped drive up employers’ health care costs.

In a news release issued by the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions of the Education & the Workforce Committee, Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tennessee), a medical doctor, declared: “For many patients, the price of health care is the determining factor when deciding whether to receive the care he or she needs. It also imposes a tremendous burden on taxpayers, as government health services become more and more expensive.” Roe added, “Employers, however, understand better than most the tough choices workers and their families face as health care costs go up year after year.”

Among witnesses testifying before the subcommittee, according to the news release:

  • Brett Parker, a finance officer for a small business in New York City, said the health reform law has failed to “rein in costs, and instead increased them, while loading job creators with mandates, regulations, new taxes and burdens. Rather than solve the problems in the health care system, PPACA ignores costs and instead redistributes money from producers in order to fund vast new entitlements and expand old ones – this was not an improvement over the status quo, it was a step backwards.” 
  • J. Michael Brewer, president of an employee benefits consulting group, said of employers: “What they [employers] will do in 2014 depends on their health insurance costs and budget in 2014, and their perceived need to use a health plan to gain a competitive advantage for labor. With regard to this latter point, many clients have told us, ‘We won’t be the first to drop coverage, but we won’t wait to be third, either.’” 
  • Thomas Miller, a health policy researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, said “the unpredictability of what will be enforced and how it will be interpreted leaves many employers frozen in uncertainty in their health benefits planning, when not fearing the worst and finding their expectations met.” Miller went on to say, “The massive uncertainties and confusion ahead under the ACA for employers and their workers are already mounting, after less than one year.”  

 More information about the hearing is at http://www.edworkforce.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=227131.