Businesses Get Last-Second Reprieve from Employer Mandate
It came as welcome news to many on the eve of July 4th when the Obama administration announced the delay of the employer mandate - a key provision of its new healthcare law. The employer mandate was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” and requires companies with 50 or more employees to offer affordable health insurance to its workforce or face fines up to $3,000 per employee. The delay until 2015 is intended to give the government time to simplify reporting requirements, and for companies to adjust their healthcare coverage as necessary to comply with the mandate.
Manufacturers already understand better than most the value of identifying and retaining quality employees. Many see their employees as part of an extended family and have been proudly offering healthcare benefits for decades.
Just a week before the administration’s announcement, NTMA member and former Chairman Jeff Kelly traveled to Washington to testify before Congress and voice the concerns of many small businesses at a House of Representatives Committee hearing on “Challenges Facing America’s Businesses Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Kelly, who is CEO & Owner of Hamill Manufacturing in Trafford, Pennsylvania, told the Committee:
“The Affordable Healthcare Act is proving to be unpredictable and unaffordable. Since the passage of this law in 2010, our healthcare premiums have risen 46%. A nearly 50% increase in healthcare costs is virtually impossible for a small business to absorb, let alone a two-thirds increase. Because so many of our jobs are critical to our operation, we just can’t get rid of people if our healthcare costs continue to increase significantly.
“To stay competitive, Hamill will be forced to find ways to reduce the impact of healthcare costs. We will have to ask our employees to share more costs. This really isn’t desirable because of the morale and retention issues we would face. Skilled labor – having, finding and developing it - is the most important factor in any current or future success.”
One Voice will continue to fight on behalf of manufacturers for commonsense laws and regulations in Washington. Jeff Kelly’s testimony at the hearing shows that our elected representatives want to hear from us. One Voice supports the decision to postpone the employer mandate, but the challenge to steer the federal government in a sensible direction on issues that our critical to the future of U.S. manufacturing continues.
Manufacturers can make a difference in Washington, but only if they participate in the process. NTMA members can give unlimited corporate or individual contributions to the NTMA Government Affairs Administrative Fund which supports the work done by The Franklin Partnership and Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. Additionally, NTMA members can make limited personal donations to the Committee for a Strong Economy (CFASE) PAC, which supports pro-manufacturing Congressional candidates.