Will Health Care Reform Cause Employers to Drop their Employee Health Care Plans?

In the wake of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care Education and Reconciliation Act, several commentators and political observers have suggested that employers will be financially overburdened to the point where they will need to eliminate their employee healthcare plans, thus depriving employees of health coverage and driving up the cost to taxpayers of funding the federally operated insurance exchanges. Several recent events have fueled this speculation:

  • 3M Corporation announced that effective 2013, retirees who qualify for Medicare will lose their current employer-sponsored health benefits, and instead will receive a health reimbursement account with which to buy a Medicare plan; in 2015, this will extend to all 3M retirees. [Retirees who do not qualify for Medicare can use their account to purchase insurance through the federal insurance exchange.] According to the Wall Street Journal, 3M asserted that the decision was motivated by the fact that

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