Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance and Health Reform

Exploring the relationship between health system reform and decisions by businesses to offer health coverage

Field of Work: Engaging business in health care reform

Problem Synopsis: Employer-sponsored health insurance has formed the backbone of the American health care system. In 2005, employers paid some 25 percent of the nation's health care spending and provided coverage to more than 175 million Americans.

However, the percentage of workers who are covered by their employers' health benefits is declining, health care premiums are escalating, and business leaders have largely remained on the sidelines rather than play a key role in the health care reform debate.

Synopsis of the Work: From 2006 through 2010, the Center for American Progress sought to increase the involvement of American business in health system reform by issuing reports and holding events for business leaders.

Following the passage in 2010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the center shifted its emphasis toward helping policy-makers and administrators implement the act's health insurance exchanges and helping businesses participate in them.

Key Results: The center issued three reports and held a panel and two business roundtables. The reports:

  • Examined employers' experiences offering health care coverage while controlling costs
  • Described provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 as they affect businesses
  • Laid out a "how-to" roadmap for policy-makers and administrators setting up state health care exchanges for small businesses under the act

The panel and roundtables in three cities discussed issues raised by the first of these reports.