September 2009, Shawn Fremstad

Two of the three leading health care reform proposals being considered by Congress—the House “Tri-Committee” health care reform legislation and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s reform legislation—include sensibly designed “play-or-pay” provisions that require employers to pay an assessment if they do not offer insurance to some or all of their employees. The third leading health care reform proposal—the bill proposed by Sen. Max Baucus and currently under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee—also includes a play-or-pay requirement, but it is poorly designed and would be unfair to employers, harmful to employees, and impose wasteful expenses on taxpayers.

This issue brief was based off an earlier report, Employer Responsibility in Health Care Reform: Potential Effects on Low- and Moderate-Income Workers.

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