Only months after Obamacare supporters stressed that the health law would have minimal impact on employer-based health insurance, a key architect of the health law predicts “an end of employer-sponsored insurance.”
Speaking recently to The New York Times about his new book, Ezekiel Emanuel estimates that workers who receive health insurance through their job will drop from just under 60 percent to less than 20 percent by 2025. Emanuel predicts that Obamacare’s employer mandate, which fines companies with more than 50 employers that do not provide health insurance, will have enough influence to start a trend.
Rather than offer health insurance, companies would likely stop offering coverage and pay the employer mandate fine. That would then prompt workers to buy insurance through Obamacare’s federal and state-run insurance exchanges.
“It’ll be a matter of a few big employers, blue-chip companies,” Emanuel told The New York Times, adding that the dramatic shift from employer-sponsored insurance could be labeled as “positive, unintended consequences.”
But Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another Obamacare architect, argued in the same New York Times article that “there’s not going to be massive erosion” in employer-sponsored health coverage.
Gruber also asserted in November that the health law would not affect Americans who get their insurance through their employer. According to The Daily Caller, Gruber told Chuck Todd’s “The Daily Rundown” on MSNBC, “This law is really leaving those with employer insurance, those with government insurance alone. We’re talking about a small minority of Americans that buy their insurance through the individual market.”
Gruber reiterated the same points in an interview the same day with nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt:
This law does not burn the health care system to the ground. That’s all hyperbole…What it does is it says we’re going to leave the system primarily alone. Those Americans who have employers, insurance from their employer, leave you alone. Those Americans who have insurance from the government, leave you alone. Those minority of Americans who are buying their insurance in a broken market today, we’re going to fix that market.