Reform Will Mean More Uninsured

Health care coverage is very sensitive to costs. A flurry of special-interest legislation in Sacramento will impose new health coverage mandates and increase litigation. These bills undermine employers' ability to offer affordable health plans that meet their employees' needs. They threaten the foundation of health care cost containment and will lead to employers dropping employee health insurance coverage.

Even small increases have big impacts. Respected health care economists at the Lewin Group have shown that every 1 percent increase in private health care premiums results in 400,000 additional uninsured Americans. Other studies find that every additional state mandate lowers the probability a firm will offer its employees health care coverage. One in five small businesses that do not offer health care coverage would do so were it not for state-mandated benefits. Just a 1 percent increase in the premium of a minimum-coverage policy decreases demand for that policy by 4 to 6 percent.

Most Californians meet health care needs through employer-provided health insurance. While at times imperfect, our present employer-sponsored system offers quality health care while controlling costs. Proposed health care reforms do nothing to improve health care quality while increasing health plan (and possibly employer) liability and costs.

The Legislature and governor must consider the likely increase in the uninsured as well as the negative impact on employers of reform legislation that will drive health care costs out of reach for employers and workers.

ANGELINA GUIRINDOLA

Chair

Employers Health Care Coalition of Los Angeles

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