Tag Archives: benefits

When Your Service to Customers Fails, What Do You Do?


I have written before about customer service (see here and here). This post is written from the point of view of a customer, but is intended to make service providers think about their systems.

crying-on-the-phone-300x225For the past year, I have been responsible for managing the estates of a relative who died and his spouse. I have dealt with a number of banks, brokerage firms, real estate offices, benefit providers, government offices, and utilities. Some have been remarkably helpful and efficient. Others have been case studies in frustration.

On the good side, one real estate company canceled a contract and returned a large deposit the decedent had made shortly before his death. A cable company made it easy to cancel service without having to return equipment that was a long distance from my home. Another service provider readily reversed a pre-payment when the service was no longer needed. I had feared contacting these companies, thinking they would argue with me, but they were courteous and prompt in addressing my concerns.

On the bad side, a large national bank stymied me at getting access to the decedent’s funds at every step of the way for several weeks. The funds in one of the decedent’s accounts could not be transferred to the account I set up for the estate for over three weeks after the death. Another account did not get transferred to my name due to a clerical error. And a large deposit I made into the estate account was kept from me for an entire week, because the funds were from an out-of-state bank.

Now mind you, this is a bank where I have multiple personal accounts that were valued at well over the amount of funds I was trying to get into the decedent’s account. Any bank employee looking at the big picture would realize I was not a risk.

Young Man with His Hand on His ForeheadThe worst example of poor customer service I encountered involved the administrator of the decedent’s health reimbursement account. This firm is the subsidiary of a large international consulting firm. Yet their representatives made errors at every step of the claims process, including recording the wrong date of death, losing the documents that proved I was the executor of the estate, making reimbursements for premiums I never claimed, sending checks to a dead person at the wrong address, and sending overpayment notices despite assuring me that the account had been resolved and I would not see any overpayment notices despite their errors.

I have experience managing departments responsible for customer service. I know what good customer service looks like. What it looks like is getting the right result for the customer, regardless of what needs to happen internally.

For example, in the case of the bank, it meant looking beyond their policies to realize that I was not a credit risk nor likely to defraud the bank if they loosened their week-long delay on the deposit of out-of-state checks. (They could have called the check-writer to verify the payment.) It also meant permitting me to use funds in the account where their clerical mistake had delayed my access. As I pointed out in an earlier post, customer-facing employees need some discretion to resolve disputes expeditiously.

In the case of the health reimbursement account, it meant looking at the account holistically and determining the correct end result, rather than processing each set of premiums reimbursements separately (half of which they got wrong). It meant cutting through the red tape to get me a check quickly, even if the company’s internal accounts were wrong because of their errors in processing claims. It also meant putting a flag on the account so that routine notices would not be sent in the future, even after their representatives had acknowledged their errors.

I point out these examples so that all readers involved in customer service can think about what might go wrong within your systems and determine in advance what you could do about it.

Most customer service organizations want to make a good impression. But it takes vigilance to do so. It also takes periodic re-examination of systems designed to benefit your organization rather than the customer. You might need the protections of these systems, but someone in your company ought to be authorized to override the system when you have clearly erred. (The senior customer service specialist at the health reimbursement account administrator told me she was “the best they had” to help me, yet she had no authority to go around their system, nor did she ever involve anyone else at the firm who could.)

Your customer is not always right, but your company can be wrong. You need to acknowledge when you are wrong and react accordingly. And you need to change your systems to do better in the future. Don’t let your company become a case study in customer frustration, as the bank and health reimbursement account administrator were for me.

I hope I am preaching to the choir to my readers with this post, but I’m sure you have all experienced times when your systems got in the way of doing the right thing. Don’t let it happen again!

When have you experienced poor customer service? What did it teach you?

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Keeping Your Wellness Programs Well: EEOC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking


EEOC sealWellness programs are a popular component of many employee benefit plans. Employers use these programs to encourage healthy behaviors among their employees, thereby reducing long-term medical costs. In addition, these programs often provide financial incentives to employees to engage their interest and sometimes include contests and classes that promote camaraderie and improve the workplace culture.

Over the last fifteen years, I have worked with several employers in a variety of workplaces to design and implement wellness programs. The employers are usually concerned about how to balance the costs and benefits of the programs and how to measure whether the program has a positive impact on employee health. It is also important to focus on changing behaviors that employees can control, while not penalizing them for health issues they cannot control.

On April 20, 2015, the EEOC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing how Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employer wellness programs.

Previously, federal regulations defined acceptable wellness programs under HIPAA. After passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, several government agencies approved wellness programs that offered financial incentives to employees, so long as the incentives did not exceed 30% of the cost of coverage to employees. Incentives of up to 50% of coverage were permitted for programs related to preventing or reducing the use of tobacco products.

However, the EEOC was not one of the agencies involved in the earlier regulatory effort. The EEOC took the position that wellness programs designed under the earlier regulations may not comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the ADA. The EEOC challenged several wellness programs in court, most notably in a lawsuit filed against Honeywell International, Inc. Honeywell’s program imposed a penalty on workers who refused to undergo biometric testing. Such penalties are a common component in wellness program design.

The EEOC’s enforcement efforts against Honeywell and other companies has made many employers hesitant to develop new wellness programs, despite the desire of employers to promote healthy behaviors among their employees and to manage their rising health care costs.

With its recent Notice of Proposed Regulations, the EEOC is finally providing guidance on how to design wellness programs it believes are acceptable under the ADA.

First, the EEOC says, wellness programs must be voluntary.

Wellness programs must be voluntary.

  • Employees may not be required to participate in a wellness program, may not be denied health insurance or given reduced health benefits if they do not participate, and may not be disciplined for not participating.
  • Employers also may not interfere with the ADA rights of employees who do not want to participate in wellness programs, and may not coerce, intimidate, or threaten employees to get them to participate or achieve certain health outcomes.
  • Employers must provide employees with a notice that describes what medical information will be collected as part of the wellness program, who will receive it, how the information will be used, and how it will be kept confidential.

Next, the programs can only offer limited incentives for employee participation or for achieving health outcomes.

Employers may offer limited incentives for employees to participate in wellness programs or to achieve certain health outcomes.

  • The amount of the incentive that may be offered for an employee to participate or to achieve health outcomes may not exceed 30 percent of the total cost of employee-only coverage.
  • For example, if the total cost of coverage paid by both the employer and employee for self-only coverage is $5,000, the maximum incentive for an employee under that plan is $1,500.

This 30% “incentive” basically accepts the existing HIPAA regulatory definition of “reward”, although there are some differences. Most notably, the EEOC proposed regulations cap smoking cessation rewards at 30%, instead of the HIPAA 50%, although if all the employer requires is that the employee answer a question about tobacco use, then a 50% incentive is permitted.

The Notice also limits incentives to 30% for programs that ask an employee to respond to a disability-related inquiry or undergo a medical examination. This is contrary to the HIPAA safe harbor exempting bona fide benefit plans from the ADA prohibition on medical examinations.

The Notice also specifically states that compliance with the proposed rules will not mean that an employer has complied with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, nor with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.  Thus, the EEOC’s proposed rules are narrowly limited to compliance with the ADA.

Moreover, the rules state that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees who seek to participate in wellness programs, such as sign language interpreters at classes for hearing-impaired participants.

Thus, the EEOC’s proposed regulations are of limited help to employers seeking to design wellness programs. It is of some benefit to know that 30% incentives are acceptable, but the regulations do not go far enough.

For more information, see

EEOC Issues Proposed Rule on Employee Wellness Programs and ADA Compliance, by Terri Gillespie, HRLegalist.com, April 21, 2015 

Wellness Programs: Agencies Issue Helpful Guidance but Look Before You Leap, by Nancy Campbell, SWLaw.com, April 21, 2015

EEOC Publishes Proposed Rule on How the ADA Applies to Employer Wellness Programs, McGuireWoods.com, April 23, 2015

EEOC Finally Releases Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Wellness Programs, EmployeeBenefitsUpdate.com, Monday, April 27, 2015

The EEOC’s New Wellness Program Regulations: Notable or Needless, by Michael Mishlove, GSHLLP.com, April 30, 2015

New Guidance On Wellness Programs, by Mathew Parker, LaborLawyers.com, May 2, 2105

What should employers do as a result of the new EEOC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking?

  1. Read the proposed regulations and evaluate your wellness programs for compliance
  2. Consult your attorney and/or benefit plan advisors about possible changes to your wellness plans.
  3. Send your comments on the proposed regulations to the EEOC by June 19, 2015, if you so choose.

What has been your experience with employee wellness programs? What has worked best at your company?

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Increasing Problems for the Affordable Care Act—In the Courts and In the Boardrooms


In recent weeks, the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare) has suffered several setbacks and conflicting interpretations in the courts. These decisions and the impact of the law on employers show the increasingly urgent need for changes in the ACA. Unfortunately, our political mood is unlikely to result in the kinds of changes businesses need for clarity.

Recent Legal Decisions:

The Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., June 30, 2014, that privately held corporations need not comply with the HHS mandate to cover birth control methods and services that violate the owners’ religious beliefs in their employee healthcare plans.

A few days later, the Supreme Court ruled in Wheaton College v. Burwell, July 3, 2014, that Wheaton College need not comply with the HHS work-around for employers who disagree with the birth control mandate. Wheaton College was allowed to avoid sending the notification HHS required until after its case is decided sometime next spring.

HHS sealAnd then on July 22, two Circuit Courts ruled opposite ways on the question of whether Obamacare subsidies are available to individuals who purchased their insurance through the federal Healthcare.gov exchange instead of through state exchanges. In Halbig v. Burwell, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the Obamacare subsidies were not available through the federal exchange, while in King v. Burwell the Fourth Circuit ruled that the subsidies were available.

The D.C. Circuit panel held that the plain language of the ACA states that subsidies are available only on marketplaces “established by the state.”  This ruling eliminates—or at least places on hold—subsidies to around 4.5 million people, which may make health insurance unaffordable for many, and yet will subject them to penalties if they drop their coverage.

In contrast, the Fourth Circuit held that the Internal Revenue Service interpretation permitting federal subsidies for purchases through Healthcare.gov was “a permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion.”

These cases set up a clear split in the lower courts that the Supreme Court will likely have to decide.

Impact of the ACA on Employers:

Increasing numbers of employers are finding themselves squeezed between the mandated coverages (more generous and more detailed than most employers offered before passage of the ACA) and the required level of premiums (where at least one plan that an employer offers must have premiums for individual coverage that are no more than 9.5% of any employee’s wages).

When the Cadillac coverage provisions go into effect after 2017, employers will face yet another constraint. If they pay too much for their employees’ coverage, they will face huge surtaxes. Beginning in 2018, a 40 percent excise tax will be imposed on high-value healthcare plans

Thus, the sweet spot of permissible healthcare plans under the ACA is being compressed in three directions—by the coverages required, by the amounts that employees can be charged, and by the subsidies that employers can provide.

And now, depending on how the Supreme Court rules on the subsidy issue, the federal government may not be able to subsidize healthcare coverage either.

Moreover, if the federal subsidy is ruled to be unlawful, then the employer penalties for employees who get the federal subsidies will fall apart as well.

At that point, the ACA scheme is likely to collapse.

I have talked with benefit plan managers in recent weeks about the increasing problems and uncertainties they face in complying with the ACA. Some are considering eliminating their employee health insurance altogether, and taking the chance that the employer penalties will survive.

Others are considering moving to fully insured plans to eliminate the complexities of complying with the uncertain ACA requirements. These employers believe they have so little flexibility in designing plans to suit their employee populations that they see no benefit to maintaining any in-house expertise in managing healthcare. Instead of continuing the tailored benefit plans they have sponsored for decades, they will turn their employees over to private exchanges, and let the employees find their own plans.

None of these benefit managers believes that employee healthcare coverage will last many more years. As crafted under the ACA and as interpreted by current HHS regulations, employee healthcare coverage has outlived its usefulness.

The Need for Change:

Most complicated statutes need “technical corrections” after the language that Congress passed is examined more carefully by regulatory agencies and by those impacted by the new law. It was to be expected that the ACA would need modification.

I have written before that the ACA needs to be amended. Not repealed, as Republicans would have it, but amended substantially. Unfortunately, changing the statutory language will require compromise between sharply divided political parties.

Employers, Be Strategic In Implementing Health Care ReformBecause of the way that the ACA was passed—with only Democrat votes in support, and all Republicans in Congress opposed—the law has no bipartisan underpinning to foster compromise. The Democrats are now reaping the effect of their actions in cramming the legislation down an unready nation’s throat.

In the meantime, we must muddle along with imperfect legislation.

Unfortunately, President Obama’s unilateral actions in delaying and re-interpreting the ACA the way he wants is not the way to fix the law.

So the healthcare industry holds its breath, hoping that the myriad issues associated with the poorly written ACA get fixed before the industry collapses due to the uncertainty.

And all of us who need healthcare hold our breaths as well.

What do you foresee happening with the ACA?

 

 

 

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Retirement Planning: Start Saving Young, Keep Saving—How Employers Can Help


I recently had a conversation with a young professional woman around thirty years old. She bought a house in the past year and has found it difficult to save beyond her 401(k) plan at work while making her mortgage payment and furnishing the house.

But she hasn’t stopped her 401(k) contributions of ten percent of her income. I told her she was on the right track.

She explained how she planned to resume her deposits to her savings account, and I told her she was on an even better track.

I wish I saw more young employees with this mentality about the importance of savings.

That’s why I was interested to read “401(k)s With ‘Automatic’ Steering Drive Savings Success,” by Patty Kujawa, July 2, 2014, in Workforce Magazine online. Employers can do a lot for their employees’ future financial health by automatically deducting a portion of their wages and depositing it into a 401(k) account.

Most young workers don’t think about retirement. It’s not that they don’t want to save, it’s that they don’t spend any time worrying about what financial resources they will need thirty or more years out.

Employers can help by setting up automatic deductions. Inertia will keep most young workers in their 401(k) accounts, which means most employees will save without any effort on their parts, and will be better off in the future for doing so.

New York Life published an infographic showing how 401(k) plans can grow, based on a variety of assumptions about employee contributions and how automatic enrollment features can encourage employees to save.

nylrps_auto-solutions

Accounting Degree Review has another good infographic showing the power of compounding interest. (And, no, you don’t need an accounting degree to understand it.)

exponential-growth

Employers committed to best practices will also educate their workers about the importance of savings and match a portion of their employees’ contributions.

The best thing that employers can do is provide a company match in 401(k) plans. But even those that cannot afford a match can talk to their employees about how participating in the 401(k) plan can jumpstart their retirement income.

One of my previous employers stressed during frequent employee discussions about retirement planning how (1) Social Security, (2) employee and employer contributions to 401(k) plans, and (3) outside savings provided three sources of income in retirement—and together these three sources could provide financial security.

Now that I’m almost ready to tap these retirement income sources, I appreciate the lessons I learned, and that is what I hope my young friend learns also.

How do you educate employees about retirement planning?

 

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Four Proposals to Amend Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts


100227-N-0995C-010On Memorial Day weekend, the seasons turn from spring to summer—societally, if not meteorologically. For many families, their child care arrangements change also. School lets out, and after-school programs are no longer in session.

Lucky parents have teenage babysitters or summer-long camps. Other parents cobble together a week at one camp, a week at another, a week with grandparents, etc., hoping that none of these arrangements falls through at the last minute.

But all parents struggle not only with arranging for good summer care, but with the year-round costs of paying for child care.

One solution—although not a panacea—would be increased use of dependent care flexible spending accounts. A dependent care FSA, authorized under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code, lets parents use pretax dollars to pay for child care expenses. Many employers permit employees to put away pre-tax money in Section 125 accounts, but these accounts are not as valuable to parents as they could be, for a number of reasons.

Here are four proposals to increase the value of dependent care FSAs to parents:

1.  Increase the $5,000 limit

The maximum amount that parents can set aside in a Section 125 account for dependent care is $5,000. Child care expenses typically are far greater than that amount. The limit has not changed since Section 125 was adopted in 1978, despite the fact that child care costs have risen dramatically in the past thirty-five years.

If this benefit is to remain meaningful, the limit should be increased to $10,000, and perhaps indexed to inflation.

2.  Permit Reimbursement In Advance of Funding

Employees cannot obtain advance reimbursement of child care expenses out of their dependent care FSAs the way they can out of health FSAs for medical expenses. Parents must put the money in the dependent care FSA out of their paychecks before they can claim reimbursement of the pre-tax funds. The rationale is that dependent care expenses are more predictable and regular than medical expenses.

Nevertheless, changing the dependent care FSAs to match the advance reimbursement procedures of health FSAs would provide parents with some additional flexibility in using these accounts.

3.  Reduce or Eliminate Carryover Restrictions

Currently, dependent care FSAs must be used each calendar year, or the funds in the account are lost. This “use it or lose it” aspect of dependent care FSAs limits their attractiveness to many parents. Amending the rules for dependent care Section 125 accounts to permit the carryover of funds from year to year would enable parents to save in advance for child care expenses.

Some legislative proposals have recommended that parents be allowed to carry over up to $500. Even this would be a benefit.

4.  Provide Pre-Tax  Savings Vehicle Outside of Employer Plan

Currently, Section 125 accounts are only available to employees whose employers chose to sponsor such accounts. Perhaps an HSA-like or IRA-like pretax account for parents whose employers don’t provide Section 125 accounts would help. This, combined with the ability to roll over unused funds to a Section 529 educational savings plan might make saving for child care more feasible.

None of these ideas will solve the issue parents have in finding and paying for good quality child care. But these proposals might be steps in the right direction.

What other ideas do you have for expanding use of dependent care flexible spending accounts?

 

 

 

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Should You Have an HR Department? If so, Who Should Run It?


Change the Organization’s Design to Get Different Results; But Be Careful . . . You Will Get What You DesignI was intrigued to read a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, entitled, “Is It a Dream or a Drag? Companies Without HR,” by Lauren Weber & Rachel Feintzeig, dated April 9, 2014. My reaction: Of course any employer with more than a handful of employees needs someone with human resources responsibility. There are too many employment laws and regulations that can bite the unwary manager without some HR expertise readily available. But then, I’ve spent over thirty years in HR roles or dealing with others who worked in HR, so I might be biased.

Why HR Is Necessary

In an ideal world, managers could manage their people without the support of HR. Managers would all be good coaches and give direct feedback. Employees would all be rational and desirous of doing a good job.

But people are people. They are messy.

And someone needs to clean up the messes. In the workplace arena, it’s HR and employment lawyers who clean up the messes.

The traditional rule of thumb from my workforce planning days a decade ago was that for every 100 employees, a business should have one dedicated manager to handle human resources issues—including hirings, firings, and everything in between.

The Wall Street Journal article cited the Society of Human Resources Management as saying that in 2012, U.S. employers had on average 1.54 HR professionals for every 100 employees. So the trend seems to be toward increasing the ratio of HR to other employees, rather than doing away with HR.

HR Professionals Can Come From Anywhere

More interesting from my point of view, was a recent Workforce magazine article discussing what background HR managers should have. See “YourForce: Who Should Run HR?” by Mike Prokopeak, Workforce, April 6, 2014.

Mr. Prokopeak took the position that

“If HR desires to achieve the recognition it seeks as “a key contributor,” it must move to a new paradigm in which there is an agreed to body of knowledge in HR based on academic and applied research. Certifications could be required before one is employed in HR.”

While I believe that HR departments are necessary in any organization of more than a few dozen employees, I don’t necessarily think that HR managers need to have degrees in personnel management, or even in business administration.

I’ve known great HR managers who had backgrounds in engineering, in law (myself included), in communications, in finance, and in other fields as well. The field of human resources is extremely broad. Just a few of the fields in HR include

  • compensation design, which requires strong numerical skills,
  • benefits administration, which requires a knowledge of detailed regulations,
  • employee relations, where knowledge of labor laws and psychology would be helpful,
  • training and employee development, where a background in education and instructional design helps.

Anyone with a strong desire to improve the design of an organization or an aptitude to improve working relationships between people can find a role in HR.

While I support the development of certifications such as the PHR and SPHR, to show that HR professionals have some understanding of the theories and regulations impacting the workplace, I do not believe that a formal degree in HR is needed.

In your opinion, should HR professionals be required to have a particular degree?

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Obamacare and the CBO Report: The Truth Is in the Middle


800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewLast week’s kerfuffle over the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on Obamacare, like most kerfuffles, had some truth on both sides of the debate. The CBO report says that the equivalent of 2 million full-time jobs will disappear by 2017, and 2.5 million by 2024, in part because people choose not to work at all or to work fewer hours. Is this a liberation of the oppressed American workforce or a death-knell to the American work ethic? Obviously, it is neither completely.

The Affordable Care Act grants subsidies to lower and middle income families to buy health insurance on the exchanges. Subsidies are just a way to give people money, albeit money with restrictions. In this case, people get the money (the subsidy) only if they buy insurance.

If you give people money, they have more choices. People will always choose to use the money in ways that they think will benefit themselves. Some of their choices also benefit society, and other choices do not.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Source: National Cancer Institute

With respect to healthcare, most people have had their health insurance subsidized by someone in the past.  Many received subsidized health insurance from their employers. Many others were covered by Medicare or Medicaid government subsidies. Only those on the individual market who could not tap into a high-risk pool paid for the insurance entirely on their own.

The Affordable Care Act now grants many people another government-subsidized option—health insurance purchased through the federal and state exchanges. So what choices are likely to make as a result of this new option? And will those choices benefit society or only the individuals involved?

  • People will quit jobs they don’t like because they no longer need employer-subsidized healthcare. This is the “benefit” described in the CBO report that the Democrats are touting.

It is true that many employees have stayed employed at a particular workplace only because they need health insurance. Prior to the ACA, employees younger than 65 may only have had the choice of employer-subsidized health insurance or unsubsidized private insurance that they thought cost too much. A second earner in a household might have been working primarily to provide health insurance, rather than because the family needed the salary. Those with pre-existing conditions didn’t feel they could get insurance if they changed jobs or quit work.

So “job lock” is real. Anyone who has worked in Human Resources or managed a workforce knows that many employees would rather be doing something other than working, and often their motivation for staying is related to insecurities around healthcare.

To the extent that the ACA has de-linked health insurance from the workplace, Republicans should extol this benefit. The problem is that the ACA doesn’t de-link insurance and employment. The ACA in fact imposes substantial penalties on employers if they do not continue to provide health insurance to employees. The ACA provides subsidies to employees but increasing costs on employers.

  • People will work less to keep their ACA subsidies. This is the impact of the ACA described in the CBO report that Democrats ignore and Republicans squawk about.

Many government programs give money to people but reduce the amount they receive as their income increases. Most of those programs therefore cause people to question whether they are better off maximizing their government payments or maximizing their income. Some will choose to work less to receive a larger payment from the government. Clearly, ACA subsidies will cause some of this behavior.

Moreover, it appears from the CBO report that lower income workers are more likely to decrease their work hours in response to the ACA. That is because they receive the greater subsidies, and the trade-off between their salaries and their ACA subsidies is more likely to favor the subsidy.

These choices to take the subsidy rather than work more for pay may benefit the individual, because non-working hours are valuable for family, hobbies, and other personal priorities. But the choices do not benefit society, unless someone else performs the same work for less pay or more work for the same pay. If productivity from new workers does not increase sufficiently to cover the cost of the subsidy, then society is worse off.

Even most conservatives believe that some redistribution of income to the poor through government programs is desirable; the question is how much. While I don’t think the ACA itself is the tipping point, I do believe that it will incent some people who could work more to instead work less, and in many cases, that will not benefit society.

So the CBO report contains ammunition for both sides of the Obamacare debate. While I believe the conservative arguments in response to the CBO report are over the top, I also believe that the liberal arguments are ignoring the very real likelihood that the ACA subsidies will decrease productivity.

The bottom line is that after the CBO report, the political argument around the ACA remains what it always has been—a debate on the role of government. Is it better for people to work less and receive more government support at taxpayer expense, or is it better to spend less on government programs and make people cover more of their expenses themselves? Should we redistribute income or not?

For employers, however, Obamacare is still bad news. Employers remain on the hook to provide subsidized health insurance to their workers or face substantial penalties. Moreover, the disparate taxation of employer-provided healthcare and privately purchased healthcare continues. In these ways, the labor market continues to be skewed, and therefore I still believe that the ACA has not moved healthcare in this country in the right direction.

For one of the more reasoned discussions of the CBO report, see Obamacare: ‘Job-killer’ or freedom from ‘job trap’?, by Linda Feldmann, Christian Science Monitor, February 6, 2014.

For a good articulation of the philosophical arguments on the role of government, see Leaving Work Behind, by Ross Douthat, New York Times, February 8, 2014.

What are you hearing from your employees about the Affordable Care Act these days?

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