July 3rd, 2009
01:30 PM ET
9 years ago

Health care: Will 'pay or play' chase employers away?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - It is one of the touchiest issues in the health care debate: Would a government-run health plan upend the employer-based health insurance system used by 160 million Americans?

Senate Democrats behind a key proposal released Thursday say the answer is no.

Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Chris Dodd, D-Conn., say their plan would preserve employer-sponsored insurance coverage and create an affordable public option for those who need it.

"The ... bill virtually eliminates the dropping of currently covered employees from employer-sponsored health plans," Kennedy and Dodd said in a letter to members of the Health Committee, one of two Senate groups working on health reform.

The bill includes a "pay or play" provision that would require employers to provide adequate coverage for their workers or subsidize a system that will.

Full story

Filed under: CNNMoney.com • Health care
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. how long until collapse?

    too many forces pulling down on the system

    matter of time until the health care prices itself out of existence

    before that some nice families will be forced into bankruptcy by the healthcare industry

    need to change the system now

    July 3, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. ol cranky

    employers are filling their ranks with contractors to avoid paying benefits (including, but not limited to health insurance) to employees as it is

    July 3, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. carlos

    The Bluedogs have got to go. This is not the option we seek.

    July 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. worriedmom

    Why should we listen to anything Dodd or Kennedy has to say. Both are crooks, liars (proven!!!) and each one could really care less abuot health insurance. Dodd is only doing this to try to win re-election.
    Before we start any health reforn, cap and trade or anything else the first and important thing we need to do, is rid Congress of ALL crooks and liars and hold responsible those who helped create all this Mess. Some of you nutcases can continue to blame Bush for it all, but who was in charge of Congress (majority) You got it, DEMOCRATS. So when you want to throw blame, look in your own home first. I am a Republican and agree that Bush was part of this mess, but the man was not the total part of it. Let's weed out all the BAD in Congress, starting with the 2 above and keep going!!! Time for the PEOPLE to be represented and not for these old goats to keep lining their pockets with perks and power

    July 3, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. haren

    This is for Hannity.
    Please educate yourself USA does not have best health care in the world.
    Our # is 37th in the world and spending for health care (looting by insurance co.) per person more than any other country
    Canada has better health care than us and actually American's are traveling to Canada for medical treatment.

    July 3, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Thank goodness that very soon we will have another Democratic senator, and one who will make healthcare reform in this country a priority.

    We're counting on you Senator Franken!

    July 3, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Shingo from CA

    No it is even silly to entertain the idea would pay or play chase away employers. Employers have one major charateristic: and that is to make money. They may not like the new way encroaching on their greed but they will still continue business.

    July 3, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. democrat no mas

    We're exempt as a small business if we have less than 25 employees? Only gotta fire 5 more an we're home free.

    July 3, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. angela klassen

    Here's another way to look at it; employees are not getting a freebee from businesses when they are enrolled in a health care plan 'paid for by the employer'. The workers generate the income to pay for the health insurance plan for the business, through their efforts. If there was no health care plan, the business would be able to pocket, as (taxable) profit, what is now used for health insurance. The employer acts as a conduit, really, from the employee group to the health insurance company.

    July 3, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Results not Rhetoric

    The answer to health care insurance reform is a public plan that provides very structure, well defined, limited services to the un-insured.

    On this subset of the services offered by private insurance companies, preventive care ... Would be the focus ... physicals, mamagrams, pap snears and streamlined surgury ... for cancer, heart dieses, pregnancy, etc.

    Not everything should be covered, but pricing pressure would be exerted on those proceedures in this limited basic health plan.

    The key to employers not dropping their more comprehensive plans would be a need to stay competitve in the labor market. This "bare bones" gov plan will be ulitarian and basic.

    July 3, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. S M R

    The idea of government health care is to eventually eliminate the monopoly the Insurance companies have on us. The current system allows ceo's and others to recieve huge salaries and bonuses. The Party of NO want it just the way it is so they can recieve kick backs from lobbiests and special interest groups which drive the prices high.

    July 3, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Chipster

    For the 4th year in a row, I've had to change doctors because the my company changed insurance companies again. This involves moving records and often repeating exams and tests. My husband was going for his last exam before having surgery when we switched but his surgeon is not "In Network." Now, he must change doctors and start over. The previous insurance company increased their rates by 84%!

    And you think tort is a problem? Lawsuits and awards have decreased while insurance companies soak us, not "tort" but maybe more like ex"TORT'ion!

    July 3, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Sir Elwayne

    Colin Powell now sees the danger of the "scratch my black and I'll scratch yours" political endorsement.

    July 3, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. People's Voice

    The greedy insurance companies know their days are numbered. If a public option is such a bad idea, then why are their lobbyists spending so much money trying to stop it.

    Bye bye greedy ones.

    July 3, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Shane

    If the government would just regulate the greed-centric soaring costs of healthcare, there would be no need for reform. There's no reason healthcare should cost more today than it did ten years ago — the quality of care certainly isn't any better. If the healthcare industry doesn't stop robbing the American people, the government will step in after too much uproar from constituents.

    July 3, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Joe Terrogano

    Ever since "managed care" was instituted in the 1980's, health care has been a corporate deal. The drug companies and the insurance companies spend tons of money tp lobby against health care reform. They have kicked out the ill and made profits all these years, on your back. Pharmaceutical companies are subsidized by the government, make record profits, and have raised your medication costs astronomically. Wake up America! Conservatives are pro-business, not pro you! They want the status quo for profits. How much stock do you have in Pharmaceuticals? Without a competing government plan, costs will continue to rise because they have a MONOPOLY!

    July 3, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Zero.

    they always say the opposite, to what they mean. The USA is up for sale, obama want's you broke.

    July 3, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. novela

    As an HR Director that negotiates health benefits for our employees, I would be interested to learn more about the pay or play approach. The current system does not work. We got a 19% increase in 2008 and a 16.7% increase in 2009. We pay 95% for employees but only 25% toward dependent coverage and we have many staff who can no longer afford coverage for their families.

    Rates have hit $524 a month for a single employee and over $1200/mo for a family. Medical providers are subsidizing low medicare payments and free services for the uninsured by raising prices on the only folks paying...employers and employees.

    At this point, competition from gov't that will have more people paying into the system, may actually reduce the cost for employers. The current approach is unsustainable.

    July 3, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. Seth

    This health reform, will break the backs of alot of employers. Its not made for the corporations that are small and barely making it, its for this administration to look good. Sheesh let get real.

    July 3, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Y

    My employer provides a good health coverage. And employer pays about 15% of my salary for this coverage - this is separate from my portion of payment for the health care. If I decline insurance, I will not have a deduction from the paycheck, but I will not get the amount my employer is contributing. So how is this different from a mandatory yet non-universal and unequal tax?
    While my employers contribution is 15% of my salary, it must be much more than that for many employees with lower salaries.
    I would trade this situation for a 15% salary raise and a universal healthcare tax, say, 10%. This should be enough to provide basic healthcare for everyone in the country. The remaining 5% as well as my current contributions could be used for higher level of coverage if desired.

    The only problem I see with something like this is a difficulty and cost of the transition. But the point is that even those of us who have good health coverage are paying tons of money for it. We just don't see these payments in the same way we see taxes; but there is really no difference. In the long run both those without health coverage and those with it will benefit from universal public health care option.

    Maybe some insurance companies will go out of business - I do not care. I am paying for healthcare to guarantee my health not their high profits. And there will be sufficient demand for higher levels of coverage to guarantee both the choice and competition amongst surviving insurance companies (those satisfied with modest profits).

    July 3, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Mike

    The greed from big insurance is what bought this on, not Obama.

    July 3, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Jeff Barea

    Why don't they just make Medicare/Medicaid available to everyone.

    Problem solved, right?

    July 3, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. D. Tree

    Americans deserve a choice: private insurance or a public option.

    It makes sense and its time for it to happen in our country.

    Its all about choice. We should have the option if we want it.

    July 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. We

    The one thing destroying our economy and preventing a true recovery is BH Obama and his minions.His policies will be the bankruptcing and enslaving of both Our Country and It's Peoples-US! Osama Bin Laden Targeted the Two Tower as a symbol of his desire for destruction of The Economic Power of The United States Of America. BH Obama is succeeding in doing that job for them from within.It appears he wants to take us down to third world status and dictator rule alomg with others that he bows down to.We are losing our country's wealth,businesses- jobs and his cap & trade policy (tax & kill) will obliverate any chances of economic recovery what so ever.We will all be slaves,no money,allotted limited food & resources only be favor of the dictator.Medical care you'll have only what they allow.They will decide and choose everything for you-even if you suffer, live or die; Everything things folks-if we allow this to happen. We must stop this and the robbery of American businesses and our people-All of Us! This is the destruction of Libery and Freedom. Haven't we already had enough? How much do you want to say nothing about before you stand up and say "No!NO MORE!" We must take back our country.We must Stand up-Speak up and out! Say NO!

    July 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Jonathan

    “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

    These replies demonstrate Churchill was right. You could be doing as I am, and get off the warranty program and actually just get insurance. Don't get insurance for your family doctor, instead get a high deductible plan for when you really can't afford the bills. For those saying we don't have great health care, you're wrong. We do have the best health care in the world. What we also have is a lot of fat, stupid, and unhealthy people. America's high rate of diabetes and heart conditions are not due to poor medical care. Have you seen Wall-E? It seems that is where we are headed.

    Also, ignoring the constitution is crazy. We need a constitutional republic instead of a democracy. Democracies are horrible.

    "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." – Thomas Jefferson

    As a federal employee, if they make me go to this idiotic public plan, then I won't be working for the government long.

    July 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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