Post-Obamacare Federal and State Health Care Mandates Still Bad for Job Creation

It’s a well-established fact that the two greatest selling points of the Affordable Care Act – you can keep your doctor and your premiums will go down – have turned out to be a false positive.

Whether it’s a mandate like the ACA or state mandates on health coverage, the result is higher costs for employers and, in turn, for employees who see their wages stagnate, and business customers who pay through higher product or service costs.

While some may cite that one mandate affects minimal cost increases on plan participants, the reality is that mandates beget mandates. For every “just” mandate, there is always another. It is this culmination that creates a costly paradigm for businesses and employees.  

Health coverage mandates for small- and medium-size business are particularly cruel because the mandates many times create a line in the sand that determines whether a business can offer or continue to offer health insurance coverage.

There are more than 2,000 state or federal mandates on health insurance, which is all self-funded. The definition of the word mandate is simply an official order to do something … period … something over which we have zero recourse.

Health mandates do not save money. 

Mandates ultimately increase the cost for businesses and the insured. Mandates may mean that job-seekers don’t get hired in the first place. Dividend payments may be smaller to investors who provide the capital to prosper and grow. 

For these reasons, the Business Council of Alabama has maintained a long-standing policy of opposing mandated health care benefits.

In its 2015 Federal Legislative Agenda, the BCA opposes efforts to create new mandated benefits. In its 2015 State Legislative Agenda, the BCA opposes mandating employer-provided health care benefits or any legislation, resolution, or regulation that would increase the cost of health plans.

Health care mandates with the best of intentions will still have the consequence of driving up the cost of providing adequate health care coverage for Alabama employees. Rather, the appropriate forum for determining the fine print in health care agreements is between the parties involved, not the government.

-Dana Beyerle, Mark Colson, and Leah Garner