New Study Shows Healthcare Mandates Do Little to Increase Coverage of Uninsured

So-called “Wal-Mart bills” fail to reach majority of uninsured.
  • Publication Date: January 2006

  • Topics: Health Care

Washington, DC – A study released today by the Employment Policies Institute on the dynamics of healthcare coverage reveals employer-funded healthcare mandates, such as the recently passed “Wal-Mart Bill” in Maryland, have little effect on the uninsured.

The research, conducted by economists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, found that bills that target large businesses fail to make a dent in the number of uninsured because the vast majority of those who experience loss of coverage over time are:

* Unemployed,
* Employed part-time,
* Employed at firms with fewer than 10 employees, or
* Newly employed and have yet to accrue the tenure required for eligibility.

The study’s authors, Drs. Robert E. Fairlie and Rebecca A. London, caution against expanding the legislation beyond large companies explaining that, “For some of these groups, especially small employers and part-time employees, it may be extremely difficult, however to create alternative policies that do not have deleterious employment effects.”

This study also found high rates of insurance loss among certain cross sections of the community. “Disadvantaged minorities and less-educated workers are at high risk of health insurance loss, and generally low probability of gaining insurance,” said the authors. “It is clear that any policies aimed at improving health insurance coverage should consider ways to offer coverage to the demographic groups in greatest need.”

“Expanding healthcare coverage will be a top priority in many statehouses this year,” said Richard Berman, executive director of the Employment Policies Institute. “Unfortunately, by proposing legislation that targets large employers, many lawmakers will keep most of their state’s uninsured out in the cold.”

Click here to download a copy of the study.