How The Employer Mandate and Benefit Tax May Save The Public Option

While the public option is the part of health care reform which has received the most press, there are several other important, contentious issues which are making a bipartisan health care reform bill agreement elusive. Two difficult issues are the employer mandate and a new tax on employer-offered health care benefits.

Republicans are strongly against even the minor employer mandate in the HELP Committee bill. The problem is the employer mandate is currently the most cost effective way to expand coverage in the bill. It was almost solely responsible for reducing the CBO scoring of the HELP committee bill's cost per uninsured individual covered by roughly 50%. It also stops the politically damaging determination that millions of Americans will “lose” their employer coverage (even though they would still be getting coverage from the health care exchange). Without the employer mandate, they will need to dramatically slash subsidies offered to help people afford insurance to get a bill under $1 trillion.

The possible “compromise” Republicans might accept is a “free rider” provision that employers must pay for workers on Medicaid or getting insurance subsidies. This is strongly opposed by Wal-Mart (which for good reason supports the employer mandate instead) and presumably therefore unpopular with the two Democratic senators from Arkansas. Given how the “free rider” provision would disproportionately hurt low wage employers, it would be an incredibly tough pill for both liberal and conservative Democratic senators to swallow.

A new tax on employee health insurance benefits in any form is amazingly unpopular with the American people. It is a proposal that makes Democrats on the entire political spectrum very nervous. Not surprisingly Harry Reid was recently forced to tell Senator Baucus to drop the proposal. The Senate Finance Committee has started fresh the search for a possible funding source.

Yet, Republican Senator Grassley continue to push for this very unpopular tax on health insurance benefits. Grassley demands that all money for reform comes from the health care system. If Republicans are unwilling to agree to a new tax besides the one on health benefits, it will make a bipartisan bill unobtainable.

The more likely health care will be passed with a purely partisan vote, the more likely that it will include a real public option. If it were the sole point of contention standing in the way of bipartisanship, the pressure from centrist Democrats would probably be enough to kill it. At issue though are the other demands made by Republican senators which are unacceptable some liberal, moderate, and conservative Democrats. The public option may not be the issue which kills bipartisanship, but it should strongly benefit from its death.

1 comment:

jacksmith said...


It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

Progressive democrats the Tri-Caucus and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust government-run public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and request that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

If President Obama has to declare a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY to rescue the American people from our healthcare crisis, he will need all the sustained support you can give him. STICK WITH HIM! He’s doing a brilliant job.



Join the fight.

Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

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God Bless You



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