Research Reveals Employer Healthcare Mandates Fail to Cover Uninsured and Ultimately Lead to Job Loss

National healthcare mandate would push 315,000 Americans out of work
  • Publication Date: January 2006

  • Topics: Health Care

Washington, DC – A study released by the Employment Policies Institute shows that if employer-paid healthcare mandates were passed nationwide, they would fail to provide coverage for 45 percent of those currently uninsured and trigger job loss for 315,000 Americans.

Over 30 state legislatures are expected to debate proposals this year for mandatory employer-provided healthcare. Most of these proposals will be crafted to exclude businesses with fewer than 25 employees, or often, as is the case in Maryland this week, fewer than 10,000 employees.

This study, conducted jointly by economists Dr. Katherine Baicker, a current member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, and Dr. Helen Levy of the University of Michigan, found that fully 45 percent of the uninsured are employed at firms with less than 25 employees and would not be covered under most new legislation.

Not only do mandates leave a large number of employees without healthcare but they put increased pressure on businesses to cut labor costs and, ultimately, jobs. “We find that 43 percent of uninsured workers earn within $3 of the minimum wage, putting them at substantial risk of unemployment if their employers were required to offer insurance,” the authors assert. “Those with the least education face the highest risk of losing their jobs under employer mandates. The same is true for nonwhites, those under age 35, single parents, and women.”

“A healthcare mandate on business is bad politics and not good policy,” said Richard Berman, executive director of the Employment Policies Institute. “Mandates are a misguided approach that would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and still leave a large percentage of the uninsured without coverage.”