I got a fair amount of push-back from Chris Van Hollen’s
office over my post that called him a liar for saying that only 5% of employers
were affected by Obama’s delay in the employer mandate.
To their credit, they were very civil about it, and it turns
out that he was making a much simpler point than I gave him credit for. I
thought he was saying that so many large employers already provide coverage
that 95% of them wouldn’t be affected. His office informs me that he was
talking about all the employers with fewer than 50 workers who were never
mandated in the first place, which make up roughly 95% of all employers in the
country, give or take.
Okay. But I’m not sure how that helps him rebut the argument
that individual consumers are being treated worse than employers. All
individual Americans are mandated to carry insurance at all times. Some in
Congress would like to delay that requirement for a year, just as President
Obama delayed the employer mandate for a year.
The only reason Van Hollen can argue Obama’s delay applies
only to 5% of employers is because the other 95% of employers were already exempted from the mandate.
Now, personally I don’t think any employers should be
mandated to provide insurance – but I don’t think any workers should be
mandated to buy it, either. But I will concede that Mr. Van Hollen was correct
when he said that only 5% of employers are newly exempt. The other 95% have
been exempt all along.