The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is asking the Congress to slow down the pace of health care negotiations, and to strip the public option and employer mandate provisions from various legislative proposals, according to a letter delivered today.
"The undersigned...wish to urge caution in addressing one of the most difficult problems facing our nation today - reforming the health care system," the letter reads.
The creation of a new government-run insurance plan is a step in the wrong direction. Employers currently suffer a significant cost-shift from existing public programs, and the program described in House legislation would significantly increase costs for every American who purchases private insurance. We do not believe that the government plan will be a fair competitor. Because of the increased costs and lack of competition caused by a government plan, employers will not be able to continue offering their current plans, which cover more than 170 million Americans.
We are further concerned with a proposal to mandate that employers either provide health insurance or pay huge fines or payroll taxes. This "pay or play" mandate is especially bad because employers are also required to pay the majority of employee premiums. Even with some exemptions, this provision will kill many jobs. Market forces and employer autonomy should determine what benefits employers provide, rather than Congress.
You can read the entire letter below the fold.
If there's something familiar to you about the idea of a health care plan without a public option, and without an employer mandate: congratulations. You've been paying attention.
That's basically the plan Max Baucus' Senate Finance Committee is set to propose--the sort of plan that a wellspring of progressivism like the Chamber of Commerce could get behind. And it should come as no surprise. Yesterday, the Chamber delivered
a letter to the Finance Committee, praising its work, and taking swipes at the House's efforts.