How an Obscure Regulatory Change Could Transform American Health Insurance

Between the election campaign and incidents of terrorism ranging from attempted bombings to a synagogue shooting, an obscure regulatory proposal by the Trump administration has yet to captivate the public’s attention. However, it has the potential to change the way millions of Americans obtain health insurance.

In the United States, unique among industrialized countries, most Americans under age 65 receive health coverage from their employers. This occurs largely due to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruling issued during World War II, which excluded health insurance coverage from income and payroll taxes. (Businesses viewed providing health insurance as one way around wartime wage and price controls.)

The Trump administration’s proposed rule would, if finalized, allow businesses to make a pretax contribution towards individual health insurance—that is, coverage that individuals own and select, rather than employers. This change may take time to have an impact, but it could lead to a much more portable system of health insurance—which would help to solve the pre-existing condition problem.

How Would It Work?

Under the proposed rule, employers could provide funds through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) to subsidize the purchase of individual health insurance. Employers could provide the funds on a pretax basis, and—provided that the workers purchase their coverage outside of the Obamacare exchanges—employees could pay their share of the premiums on a tax-free basis as well.

In practical terms, some employers may choose to provide a subsidy for health coverage—say, $300 per month, or $5,000 per year—in lieu of offering a firm-sponsored health plan. Individuals could go out and buy the plan they want, which covers the doctors whom they use, rather than remaining stuck with the plan their employer offers. And employers would get better predictability for their health expenses by knowing their exposure would remain fixed to the sums they contribute every year.

Could Employers Game the System?

The proposed rule acknowledged the possibility that employers might try to “offload” their costliest patients into individual health coverage, lowering expenses (and therefore premiums) for the people who remain. The rule contains several provisions designed to protect against this possibility.

Employers must choose to offer either an HRA contribution towards individual coverage or a group health plan. They cannot offer both options, and whatever option they select, they must make the same decision for an entire class of workers.

A “class” of workers would mean all full-time employees, or all part-time employees, or all employees under one collective bargaining agreement. Hourly and salaried workers would not count as separate “classes,” because firms could easily convert workers from one form of compensation to another. These provisions seek to ensure that firms will offer some employees health insurance, while “dumping” other employees on to individual coverage.

Can Workers Buy Short-Term Coverage with Employer Funds?

Yes—and no. The proposed rule would allow HRA funds to purchase only individual (i.e., Obamacare-compliant) health insurance coverage, not short-term insurance.

However, the rule creates a separate type of account to which employers could contribute that would fund workers’ “excepted benefits.” This term could include things like long-term care insurance, vision and dental insurance, and the new short-term plans the Trump administration has permitted. But employers could only fund these accounts up to a maximum of $1,800 per year, and they could create these special “excepted benefits” accounts only if they do not offer an HRA that reimburses workers for individual insurance, as outlined above.

Will Firms Drop Health Coverage?

Some firms may explore the HRA option over time. However, the extent to which businesses embrace defined-contribution coverage may depend upon the viability of the individual health insurance market, and the status of the labor market.

However, if and when more insurers return to the marketplace, firms may view the defined-contribution method of health coverage as a win-win: employees get more choices and employers get predictability over health costs. Particularly if unemployment ticks upward, or one firm in an industry makes the move towards the HRA model, other businesses may follow suit in short order.

Will the Proposal Cost Money?

It could. The proposed rule should cost the federal government $29.7 billion over the first ten years. That estimate assumes that 800,000 firms, offering coverage to 10.7 million people, will use the HRA option by 2028. (It also assumes an 800,000 reduction in the number of uninsured Americans by that same year.)

The cost, or savings, to the federal government could vary widely, depending on factors like:

  • Whether firms using the HRA option previously offered coverage. If firms that did not offer coverage take the HRA option, pretax health insurance payments would increase, reducing tax revenues. (The rule assumes a reduction in income and payroll tax revenue of $13 billion in 2028.)
  • Whether individuals enrolling in individual market coverage via the HRA option are more or less healthy than current enrollees. If the new enrollees are less healthy than current enrollees, individual market premiums will rise, as will spending on Obamacare subsidies for those individuals. (The rule assumes a 1 percent increase in individual market premiums, and thus exchange subsidies.)
  • The extent to which HRAs affect eligibility for Obamacare subsidies. If some low-income individuals whose employers previously did not offer coverage now qualify for HRA subsidies, they may lose eligibility for Obamacare subsidies on the exchanges. (The rule assumes a reduction in Obamacare subsidies of $6.9 billion in 2028.)

Given the many variables in play, the rule has a highly uncertain fiscal impact. It could cost the federal government billions (or more) per year, save the federal government similar sums, or have largely offsetting effects.

An Overdue (and Welcome) Change

The proposed rule would codify the last element of last October’s executive order on health care. It follows the release of rules regarding both short-term health insurance and association health plans earlier this year.

Ironically, the Trump administration represents but the most recent Republican presidency to examine the possibility of defined-contribution health insurance. While working on Capitol Hill in 2008, I tried to encourage the Bush administration to adopt guidance similar to that in the proposed rule. However, policy disagreements—including objections raised by, of all places, scholars at the Heritage Foundation—precluded the Bush administration from finalizing the changes.

Since I’ve fought for this concept for more than a decade, and included it in a series of regulatory changes the administration needed to make in a paper released shortly before Trump took office, I can attest that this change is as welcome—and needed—since it is overdue. Although overshadowed at the time of its release, this rule could have a substantial effect on Americans’ health insurance choices over time.

This post was originally published at The Federalist.

Obamacare and the Pitfalls of Congressional Legislating

Weeks before Congress embarked on its final push to put Obamacare on the statute books, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously stated that Congress had to pass the bill “so that you can find out what’s in it.” But last week, a staffer at the heart of drafting the legislation admitted that Congress itself failed to comprehend the implications of the provisions it imposed upon the American people.

On Friday, a Capitol Hill newspaper published a story outlining the history of Obamacare’s employer mandate and whether the administration might delay its implementation still further. In the article, Yvette Fontenot—a lobbyist who helped write the bill for then-Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and later worked on implementing the legislation at the White House—admitted that when Mr. Baucus’s staff drafted the employer mandate, “we didn’t have a very good handle on how difficult operationalizing the provision would be at that time.”

Indeed, the employer mandate has proved difficult to implement. Defining who counts as a full-time employee across a variety of industries and creating databases to track employees’ hours have taxed regulators and companies alike. While the administration has cited these difficulties in twice delaying the mandate’s implementation, the law’s critics take a different view—believing the administration postponed the mandate to avoid potential stories about job losses prior to the 2014 elections.

Likewise, the import of Ms. Fontenot’s admission. Liberals and supporters of a strong executive might argue that her comments highlight the need for agency rulemaking, rather than placing final authority in the hands of inexpert legislators and overtaxed congressional staff—essentially saving Congress from itself. House Speaker John Boehner obviously disagrees. The Ohio Republican views the impending House vote exploring legal action against the administration as one way for the legislature to regain its authority.

But more broadly, conservatives would argue that Ms. Fontenot’s comments highlight the need for a more deliberative—and more humble—Congress, one quicker to acknowledge its own flaws, and change its processes accordingly. Recall that Max Baucus—the prime congressional author of Obamacare—said four years ago that he didn’t want to “waste my time” reading the legislation, because “we hire experts.” But one of those “experts” now says she didn’t understand how one of the major portions of the bill would work. It makes a very compelling argument that Congress, rather than relying on agency employees to resolve its self-imposed problems, should instead revert to the Hippocratic oath, and focus first and foremost on doing no legislative harm.

This post was originally published at the Wall Street Journal Think Tank blog.

Report Reveals Obamacare’s Side Effects: Higher Costs, Fewer Jobs

What will Obamacare mean for American businesses? Higher costs, according to a report released yesterday from consultants at Mercer.

Here are the preliminary results from Mercer’s annual survey of large employers about the impact of Obamacare:

Costs Continue to Rise: Despite the moderating effects of the recession in dampening consumer demand, “employers expect health benefit cost per employee will rise by 4.8 percent on average in 2014.” Recall that then-Senator Obama promised in 2008 that his health plan would lower health costs by an average of $2,500 per family.

Obamacare’s Mandates Hitting Many Businesses: “About a third of all large employer health plan sponsors (those with 500 or more employees) do not currently offer coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours per week, as will be required under the [law] beginning in 2015. Industries that rely heavily on part-time workers will be the hardest hit by this rule. About half of respondents in retail and hospitality currently do not offer coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours per week.”

Obamacare Will Raise Costs by at Least 2 Percent for Majority of Firms: “When asked to consider the impact of higher enrollment and new [Obamacare] fees…about half of the employers surveyed say they will spend at least 2% more on health benefits in 2014 – over and above the normal increase in cost. Another third are unable to predict. Only about a fifth of employers are confident that [Obamacare] will have little or no impact on spending in 2014.” The Mercer consultants also pointed out that Obamacare could impose additional costs on businesses once the delayed employer mandate takes effect in 2015.

More Workers Will See Their Hours Cut: “Some employers will minimize the number of newly eligible employees by cutting back on hours for at least a portion of their workforce – 11% of all large employers say they will do so.”

The impact of Obamacare on the American economy is well-documented, and growing. It’s why Congress needs to stop Obamacare now.

This post was originally published at The Daily Signal.

We Told You So: Nation’s Largest Employer Scales Back Health Coverage

Over the weekend, more details emerged about how Obamacare is transforming the American workforce – and not for the better.  The New York Times reported on many small firms not hiring new workers, or scaling back hours for existing workers, to avoid the law’s new taxes.  And the Huffington Post reported that Wal-Mart has changed its employment policy, eliminating health insurance benefits for new part-time workers – thereby dumping them on to Obamacare’s exchanges:

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, plans to begin denying health insurance to newly hired employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, according to a copy of the company’s policy obtained by The Huffington Post.  Under the policy, slated to take effect in January, Walmart also reserves the right to eliminate health care coverage for certain workers if their average workweek dips below 30 hours.…

Labor and health care experts portrayed Walmart’s decision to exclude workers from its medical plans as an attempt to limit costs while taking advantage of the national health care reform known as Obamacare….“Walmart is effectively shifting the costs of paying for its employees onto the federal government with this new plan, which is one of the problems with the way the law is structured,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Walmart likely thought it didn’t need to offer this part-time coverage anymore with Obamacare,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  “This is another example of a tremendous government subsidy to Walmart via its workers.”

In pursuing lower health care costs, Walmart is following the same course as many other large employers. But given its unrivaled scale, Walmart’s policies tend to influence American working conditions more broadly.  Tom Billet, a senior consultant at Towers Watson, a professional services firm that works with large companies to develop benefit plans, said other companies are also crafting policies that will exclude some part-time workers from medical coverage.  Billet portrayed the growing corporate interest in separating out part-time workers as a reaction to another aspect of Obamacare – the new rules that require companies with at least 50 full-time workers to offer health coverage to all employees who work 30 or more hours a week or pay penalties.

One major bottom-line question in this development relates to how many more people will be added to government health rolls by this apparent trend.  In last month’s job data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated nearly 28 million Americans work part-time – defined by the BLS as fewer than 35 hours per week.  Using Obamacare’s less stringent 30 hours per week standard would reduce that 28 million number somewhat – and many part-time workers do not have access to employer-provided health insurance currently.  (Of firms offering insurance to their employees, 28% extend that offer to part-time workers as well – a fact which only indirectly illuminates the number of part-time workers receiving insurance coverage from their employer.)

All that said, the point remains that millions – and perhaps tens of millions – of part-time workers who currently receive insurance from their employers could lose it due to Obamacare – and federal taxpayers will be stuck paying the bill.  That’s not “reform,” and it’s not a change millions of American workers, to say nothing of American taxpayers, can believe in.

We Told You So: Companies Hiring Fewer Full-Time Workers

The Wall Street Journal has a must-read article this morning highlighting one of Obamacare’s effects – companies are replacing full-time workers with part-time employees to avoid the law’s soon-to-be-imposed $2,000 employer mandate penalty.  Because full-time employees working more than 30 hours will incur a penalty while part-time workers will not, many firms are in the process of shifting their workforce, as the article outlines:

Some low-wage employers are moving toward hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones to mitigate the health-care overhaul’s requirement that large companies provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a fee.  Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week.  That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 for each worker.

Pillar Hotels & Resorts this summer began to focus more on hiring part-time workers among its 5,500 employees, after the Supreme Court upheld the health-care overhaul, said Chief Executive Chris Russell.  The company has 210 franchise hotels, under the Sheraton, Fairfield Inns, Hampton Inns and Holiday Inns brands.  “The tendency is to say, ‘Let me fill this position with a 40-hour-a-week employee.’”  Mr. Russell said. “I think we have to think differently.”…

CKE Restaurants Inc., parent of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, began two months ago to hire part-time workers to replace full-time employees who left, said Andy Puzder, CEO of the Carpinteria, Calif., company.  CKE, which is owned by private-equity firm Apollo Management LP, offers limited-benefit plans to all restaurant employees, but the federal government won’t allow those policies to be sold starting in 2014 because of low caps on payouts.  Mr. Puzder said he has advised Mr. Romney’s campaign on economic issues in an unpaid capacity.

Home retailer Anna’s Linens Inc. is considering cutting hours for some full-time employees to avoid the insurance mandate if the health-care law isn’t repealed, said CEO Alan Gladstone.  Mr. Gladstone said the costs of providing coverage to all 1,100 sales associates who work at least 30 hours a week would be prohibitive, although he was weighing alternative options, such as raising prices….

Benefits consultants said most retail and hotel clients have explored shifting toward part-time workers.  Those industries are less likely to offer health coverage now, and if they do, the plans typically are too skimpy to meet the minimum-coverage requirements.  “They’ve all considered it,” Matthew Stevenson, a workforce-strategy principal at Mercer.  In a July survey, 32% of retail and hospitality company respondents told the consulting firm that they were likely to reduce the number of employees working 30 hours a week or more.

Not only is this response predictable – it was predicted, and not just by Republicans but by non-partisan experts.  Here’s what the Congressional Budget Office wrote more than two years ago about the Obamacare mandate taxes:

Those penalties…will, over time, generally be passed on to workers through reductions in wages…However, firms generally cannot reduce workers’ wages below the minimum wage, which will probably cause some employers to respond by hiring fewer low-wage workers.  Alternatively, because firms are penalized only if their full-time employees receive subsidies from exchanges, some firms may instead hire more part-time or seasonal employees.

CBO also said that “the expansion of Medicaid” and the health insurance subsidies “will encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market.  In addition, the phaseout of the subsidies as income rises will effectively increase marginal tax rates, which will also discourage work.”

Two years ago, Speaker Pelosi famously said we had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.  It turns out what’s in Obamacare is exactly what non-partisan experts said – provisions that will cost jobs and harm the American economy.

Coming Attractions: Obamacare Goes Hollywood!

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on California’s attempts to implement Obamacare.  Among other things, the state is looking to build support for the law by hiring a PR firm to engage in some old-fashioned Hollywood propaganda:

Realizing that much of the battle will be in the public relations realm, the exchange has poured significant resources into a detailed marketing plan — developed not by state health bureaucrats but by the global marketing powerhouse Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, which has an initial $900,000 contract with the exchange….

And Hollywood, an industry whose major players have been supportive of President Obama and his agenda, will be tapped.  Plans are being discussed to pitch a reality television show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage,” according to the Ogilvy plan.  The exchange will also seek to have prime-time television shows, like “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and Univision telenovelas, weave the health care law into their plots.  “I’d like to see 10 of the major TV shows, or telenovelas, have people talking about ‘that health insurance thing,’ ” said Peter V. Lee, the exchange’s executive director.  “There are good story lines here.”

Indeed, there are many good story lines – and television show ideas – from Obamacare.  We have several we’d like to suggest:

“The Office:”  Kathleen Sebelius and federal bureaucrats channel Dwight Schrute in the famous “Health Care” episode, deciding which treatments and diseases will, and will not, be covered under Obamacare.  No word yet on whether Count Choculitis will in fact be considered a covered benefit under the law.

“Lost:”  Instead of being trapped on an island, participants in this series will instead be marooned in a vast federal bureaucracy including 159 new boards, bureaucracies, and programs, along with over 12,800 pages of regulations.  In the pilot episode, thousands of small businesses found that Obamacare’s complex small business tax credit left them stranded and confused amidst a complicated array of paperwork that bogged down their firms – and saw many businesses not qualify for a credit at all.

Nick Riviera, M.D.:”  The networks originally proposed a revival of the popular “Marcus Welby” series.  Unfortunately, due to Obamacare’s unsustainable reductions in Medicare reimbursement rates, Dr. Welby – along with many other medical providers – will soon stop practicing medicine.  As a result, the networks resorted to “The Simpsons’” most famous graduate of Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.  Expect to see members of the medical review board as recurring characters in this show…

“Unhappy Days:”  In this show, Tom Bosley is forced to shrink his hardware store business, as Obamacare’s employer mandate will discourage new employment.  Rather than pay tens of thousands of dollars in penalties, he stops hiring new workers and converts his full-time employees to part-time status.  His workers respond with a single despondent reaction: “Whoa!

Coming soon to a small screen near you!

More Bad News for American Patients

Earlier this week consultants at Towers Watson, in conjunction with the National Business Group on Health, released their annual survey of large employers offering health insurance.  And the results are not encouraging for businesses or employees:

Higher Costs:  “Employers anticipate total health care costs will reach $11,664 per active employee in 2012, up from $10,982 in 2011 — a 6.2% increase in total costs over the period.”

Higher Premiums:  “Employees, on average, paid 23.0% of total premium costs in 2011 and are expected to pay 23.7% in 2012, as companies take steps to control their costs.  In paycheck deductions, this translated into an average employee contribution of $2,529 to premiums in 2011, which is expected to rise to $2,764 in 2012 — a 9.3% increase in one year.”

Higher Out-of-Pocket Charges:  “The share of total health care expenses paid by employees, including premium and out-of-pocket costs, is expected to be 34.4% in 2012, up from 33.2% in 2011.”

Employers Dropping Retiree Coverage:  “If [Obamacare] works as intended, the health insurance market in 2014 and beyond will become an attractive alternative and further push companies to exit sponsorship of their pre-65 programs.”

Employers Dropping Workers’ Coverage:  “Nearly one in five companies is likely to offer health care coverage to a subset of its workforce and direct the remainder of its employees to the insurance Exchanges.”

Employers Less Confident about Offering Coverage:  “Against the backdrop of [Obamacare], companies have never been more uncertain about the future of their health care programs over the long term….With the health care marketplace changing rapidly and parts of [Obamacare] already starting to take effect, employer confidence is at its lowest point (23%) since we began tracking this data.”

Businesses Bogged Down by Paperwork:  Nearly one in six firms (15%) cited the cost of Obamacare compliance as one of the “biggest challenges to maintaining affordable benefit coverage.”

Firms Reducing Employee Hours:  “Nearly 40% of companies that traditionally use a high number of part-time workers expect to limit them to less than 30 hours per week by 2014 to escape having to pay benefits.”

The report once again illustrates Obamacare’s broken promises – instead of premiums going down by $2,500, they continue to skyrocket, even as individuals are unable to maintain their prior coverage.  It’s yet another example of the way in which Obamacare has failed to deliver for the American people.

Will One in Six Firms Drop Coverage?

While we wrote earlier this week about how the National Business Group on Health’s annual survey found premium costs for businesses continue to rise, one element of the study missed our attention.  That’s the high percentage of firms that are looking to dump coverage for some or all of their plan participants.  As the below graph from the Business Group survey shows, a majority of large employers surveyed (51%) plan on dumping their retiree coverage, more than a third (35%) plan to dump coverage for part-time workers, and one-sixth (16%) plan to dump coverage for full-time employees:

When thinking about these data, it’s important to keep in mind two key facts.  First, the Business Group’s members are “primarily Fortune 500 companies and large public sector employers” – in other words, large employers most likely to keep offering coverage.  So the numbers above may actually be an under-estimate of the percentage of firms who actually dump, if a greater percentage of small and medium-sized businesses do so.  Second, the Congressional Budget Office earlier this year examined scenarios where up to 20 million people lose employer-sponsored health insurance.  But with 170 million people currently receiving employer-sponsored insurance, if one-sixth of firms drop coverage for their full-time workers – to say nothing of more firms dropping coverage for part-time workers and/or retirees – many more than 20 million people could lose their insurance, and the fiscal impact would be much greater.

With a Mercer study released yesterday indicating that at least 61% of firms believe Obamacare will raise their health costs – and more than a third (34%) asserting the law will raise premiums by more than 3% – it’s obvious that businesses will look at ways to reduce their overall costs.  Dumping their employees on Obamacare Exchanges would be one way for them to achieve this objective.  Unfortunately, however, it would also saddle taxpayers with trillions of dollars in new obligations for years to come.

Job Creators Give Obamacare a Big Thumbs-Down

An article in the Wall Street Journal this morning speaks to the ill effects Obamacare is having on businesses around the country.  Among some of the reactions to the law’s employer mandate, and its impact on small business franchisees:

  • “McDonald’s Corp. Chief Financial Officer Peter Bensen told analysts last week that the law will add between $10,000 and $30,000 in added annual costs to each of the 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S., 89% of which are franchisee-owned.”
  • “Many of our franchisees will struggle with how to reconcile the financial implications…and will likely take other measures to reduce costs,” according to Steven Wiborg, head of Burger King’s North American operations
  • Randall Tabor, who owns two Quizno’s shops in Virginia, told the Journal that when it comes to Obamacare, “I don’t have the profit margin to pay for it.”  And because the law imposes penalties on firms with more than 50 full-time workers, “Mr. Tabor, who employs 36 people at his two Quiznos shops and another restaurant, wants to stay small so he doesn’t trigger the requirement.”

These are the effects of just one of Obamacare’s more than trillion-dollars in new taxes.  With job creators openly admitting that the law’s perverse incentives are discouraging them from hiring, it’s obvious that the economy will not fully recover from its current downturn unless and until Obamacare is fully repealed.

Survey Shows How Obamacare Is Making Things Worse

Lost in all the publicity surrounding the two-year anniversary of Obamacare and the Supreme Court arguments regarding same was an interesting study revealing once again how the 2700-page law has fallen short.  The annual Towers Watson survey of health plans, released last month, again showed how the law is harming millions of Americans this year, and causing more employers to think about dropping coverage in the future:

Higher Costs:  Costs per employee will rise by $682 this year – imposing new costs on struggling businesses and families alike.  Costs would have risen even higher, but for the fact that employers also increased cost-sharing and made other plan changes.

Higher Premiums:  The employee share of premium costs will go up by 9.4%.  Recall that candidate Obama promised repeatedly that premiums would go DOWN by $2,500 per family under his plan.

Higher Cost-Sharing:  Out-of-pocket expenses for employees increased from 16% to 18%, and the total employee cost share (premiums plus out-of-pocket costs) also rose, from 33.2% to 34.4%.

Higher Regulatory Burden:  More than one in seven (15%) employers listed the cost of compliance and regulatory burdens under Obamacare as one of the biggest challenges to maintaining affordable coverage.

Lower Hours for Workers:  “Nearly 40% of companies that traditionally use a high number of part-time workers expect to limit them to less than 30 hours per week by 2014 to escape having to pay benefits.”

Employers Dumping Coverage, Part I:  Fewer than one in four (23%) employers said they are very confident they will continue to offer health benefits for the next ten years – that’s a drop of a whopping fifty points from the 73% number who planned to keep offering coverage five years ago.

Employers Dumping Coverage, Part II:  More than two in five (42%) employers are at least somewhat likely to direct part-time and temporary workers into Exchanges.

Employers Dumping Coverage, Part III:  More than two in five (41%) employers are at least somewhat likely to “structure [employer health insurance] contributions to facilitate availability of federal subsidies in the Exchange for low-wage earners.”

Employers Dumping Coverage, Part IV:  A majority (53%) of employers plan to eliminate retiree drug coverage by 2014 or 2015, sending their retirees into taxpayer-funded plans instead.

The results of the Towers Watson survey once again illustrate how Obamacare has failed to control costs, produced new and costly mandates for businesses, and thereby encouraged firms to dump their health coverage once Exchanges come online in 2014.  In short, the unpopular law has made things worse for millions of struggling Americans.