A new analysis suggests that getting rid of Obamacare's mandate that employers offer workers affordable health coverage or pay a fine would have little effect on the overall insured rate—but could also lessen business opposition to the controversial law.
The research by experts at the Urban Institute found that scrapping the employer mandate due to take effect next year would reduce the number of people who as of 2016 would have some kind of insurance from 251.1 million to 250.9 million—a reduction of just 200,000 people.
John Holahan, one of the researchers, said that is a particularly small number, especially when considering the amount of "noise" generated by Obamacare opponents, who claim on the basis of anecdotal evidence that companies are reducing staff and employee hours to avoid employer mandate-related fines.
And there are "so many other things you could do" to get the 200,000 people health coverage other than compelling employers to offer insurance, said Holahan. One of those things, he said, is having government increase subsidies available to people to buy insurance on Obamacare exchanges, as well as expanding eligibility for Medicaid.
"Our feeling is that we're not getting enough out of it [the employer mandate] to have to pay that price politically," said Holahan.