"Medicare for All" could end up costing employers less than the current employer-sponsored health insurance system does, depending on how it's structured.
- But that certainly doesn't mean employers are on board, partially because other concerns — like access to health care and the competitive advantage that generous benefits can create — may outweigh cost and convenience.
What they're saying: Employers provide health insurance "because it’s a benefit that attracts employees. It’s a benefit they like to provide, even if it’s expensive," said Neil Bradley of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
- Bradley said that things like choice and access to medical care — which he said would be hindered under Medicare for All — are more important to employers.
The other side: "I’ve talked to a Fortune 500 CEO who says he would love [Medicare for All] and who told me he knows plenty of others who feel that way," said House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).
By the numbers: Health benefits made up 8.3% of employee compensation in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This translates into 12% of payroll, or of wages and salaries.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All financing "options" that he released last week included a 7.5% "income-based premium" paid by employers, with the first $2 million in payroll exempted.
- But most economists assume that workers end up shouldering the cost of their employer insurance today through reduced wages and that would continue if premiums were replaced with a tax to fund Medicare for All.
The bottom line: How employers feel about Medicare for All — or more specifically, Medicare payment rates for everyone — could change over time, as the cost of private employer-sponsored insurance skyrockets, said former Trump administration health official John Bardis.