Zeke Emanuel: Employees Will Stop Relying on Jobs for Insurance

Image: Zeke Emanuel: Employees Will Stop Relying on Jobs for Insurance

Monday, 07 Apr 2014 01:43 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel offers further explanation about his prediction that the new healthcare law will bring "the end of employer-sponsored insurance" — after his comments were the topic of much debate since he made them in March.

According to The New York Times, there were strong feelings on both sides, with some employers saying they were happy to get out of the health insurance business and anger from employees toward employers for saying they no longer planned to offer health insurance.

Emanuel argues in a new interview with the Times that employers will stop offering health insurance "not because of anything in the law," but because employees will decide on their own to stop relying on their employers for insurance as they start to turn to the individual market.

But one of the dynamics that will have to change for employers to feel comfortable about ceasing to offer insurance is for the plans available on the exchanges to match the policies that employers currently offer.

"If the products available on the exchange are not equivalent to what responsible large private employers are doing, they're not going to send their workers there," he said. "It's just that simple."

In order for that to happen, "the exchanges can offer better products ... But insurers aren't going to develop these plans unless they perceive there's a market for them," and the shopping experience also needs to be improved.

The Affordable Care Act architect said that one "good point against" him is that if employers try to give employees a cash raise equivalent to what they are paying instead of insurance, and eat the fine from the government, it will actually cost the company more to do so.

However, Emanuel said he disagrees with the recent assertion by former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that the employer mandate won't survive.

"No way. He's wrong. Period," he said.


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