Many of the requirements released in the latest House version of health care reform are similar to proposals previously detailed in the Senate but with stiffer penalties for employers.
Employers with 25 or more employees, under the bill’s provisions, would be required to provide health coverage to employees or pay an 8 percent payroll tax. A similar mandate in a Senate bill would charge employers who do not provide coverage $750 per full-time employee per year.
Even at 8%, employers could opt out on employees making $50,000 for $4000 per year. The average cost(2008) for a family of four is now $12,700. Employees only pay $3400. That leaves $9300 for the employer to pay. Why wouldn't employers do this? Even if they had to give employees a raise(taxable) to cover some of the difference, they wouldn't have to deal with rising health care costs ever again.
The annual premium that a health insurer charges an employer for a health plan covering a family of four averaged $12,700 in 2008. Workers contributed nearly $3,400, or 12 percent more than they did in 2007.2 The annual premiums for family coverage significantly eclipsed the gross earnings for a full-time, minimum-wage worker ($10,712).
If there is a public option plan, we will all be forced into it eventually. Of course, that is Obama and the Democrats plan.
Tsongas Health Care Forum