The Nov. 13 Business Journal article “Health concerns” notes some of the concerns that businesses have with the increasing number of employer mandates. Policymakers who favor a requirement that employers provide health care insurance for employees should also recognize the traditional definitions of “small business” vs. “large company” aren’t always appropriate.
Many small employers have a very high profit per employee. For example, investment firms generate tens of thousands of dollars in pure profit for a single hire.
On the other hand, some large companies employ thousands of workers in entry-wage positions. They operate on low levels of profit per each employee.
A “play-or-pay” mandate based on number of employees disproportionately impacts these businesses. A $400 per year per employee health care premium would be less than 2 percent of the profit of a small investment firm but a devastating 20 percent of profits for a casual dining restaurant.
-Kristen Lopez Eastlick, Washington
Eastlick is senior economic analyst at the Employment Policies Institute in Washington, D.C.