A study from Deloitte Development L.L.C. reports that a growing number of mid-sized employers feel that holding off on healthcare reform would help improve their economic forecasts for 2013. The study found that 40 percent of employers shared this sentiment, a significant expansion from the 33 percent reporting the same in 2012 and 23 percent in 2011.
“Rolling back health care reform ranked a very close second to reducing corporate tax rates as the most popular initiative the U.S. government could implement to help middle-market companies grow in the coming year,” the study said.
In contrast, large companies are much more prepared to whether the current reform regime as implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) accelerates. Just 38 percent of larger companies with between 1,000 and 3,000 employers ranked a rollback of healthcare reform as a top policy priority. Over half of companies with 50 to 99 employers ranked the issue as a top governmental priority.
The largest concern with ongoing reform was found to the costs of compliance with 71 percent of mid-sized respondents agreeing that compliance costs will rise. Additionally, 41 percent of respondents foresee such growth reaching levels high enough to eclipse all other regulatory requirements. Consequently, as year-over-year healthcare costs increase, staff reductions also begin to rise.
In fact, 60 percent of mid-sized employers reported that the biggest obstacle to economic growth is rising medical costs. Under the ACA reforms, businesses with over 50 full-time employees must offer affordable group health coverage by 2014 or suffer a penalty. This requirement has resulted in more employers anticipating a rise in the number of contract and part-time workers employed in 2013 and 2014.