Unable to compete with foreign companies that do not provide health benefits to their employees and retirees, more and more American corporations will join the movement to eliminate employer-paid health benefits and create a national, single-payer alternative.
The percentage of small business (with fewer than 200 employees) offering health insurance has been falling steadily from 69% in 2001 to 61% in 2007, according to a survey by management consulting firm Mercer. Meanwhile, large companies have been shifting more of the cost burden to employees, whose in-network PPO deductibles have increased from $689 in 2000 to $1,134 in 2007.
In addition to health costs eroding wage gains and corporate profitability, employer-paid health benefits make less sense in a workforce that is becoming increasingly mobile and flexible. More Americans are changing employers every year or two, employed as contingent or contract workers and holding multiple part- and full-time jobs. The cost and loss of efficiency from the paperwork alone is enough to compel corporations to seek alternatives to the current standard.