National Business Group on Health Endorses Individual Health Care Mandates

February 1, 2008 ( - The National Business Group on Health (NBGH) has announced it will support efforts to require individuals to have health insurance coverage for themselves and their dependent children.

The non-profit association representing nearly 300 large U.S. employers also said it believes the current favorable tax treatment of employer-sponsored health care coverage is a key reason so many people have affordable coverage through their employers and it should not be modified, according to a press release. The association said individuals who purchase health insurance on their own should receive the same tax advantages.

The NBGH opposes any mandates that would force employers to offer health coverage that many companies voluntarily provide, the announcement said. The agency also opposes any mandates that would require employers to pay the government if not providing worker health care.

The NBGH’s principles on national health care reform are contained in a toolkit approved by its Board of Directors. There are more than 20 essential principles that the NBGH believes are necessary to improve health care affordability, quality and safety, reduce health care costs, and expand access to health care services.

Other key principles highlighted by the NBGH include:

  • Encourage employee responsibility – Studies have shown that the more patients are engaged in decisions about their treatment and the more responsibility they take for their own health, the more satisfied they are and the cost of their care decreases. The NBGH said it believes coverage should encourage people to be good consumers of health care, just as they are with other goods and services.
  • Preserve and strengthen the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) – In addition to supporting the federal framework of ERISA, the NBGH opposes federal waivers for state health reform. While states can and should plan an important role in expanding coverage, they should not be allowed to regulate employer-sponsored benefit plans under waivers or carve-outs of ERISA’s national framework.

A copy of the NBGH position on national health care reform can be found at .