Study: Employer mandate could create jobs

A study commissioned by liberal think tanks disputes claims that a “pay or play” employer mandate in a national healthcare plan would cause massive job loss, and says it could actually create jobs.

The study by the Goldman School at the University of California, Berkeley found that in a “worst-case scenario,” 166,095 jobs could be lost, which would be about 0.1% of employed workers.

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But the study said that assumed several unlikely outcomes from healthcare reform, such as Congress not exempting small employers, and companies not opting to pay the payroll tax.

The study says it’s more likely that jobs would be created because of new jobs sparked in the healthcare sector, savings for employers who lower their healthcare cost by paying the 8 percent tax and system-wide savings from slowing down the growth in the cost of healthcare.

Under the House Democrats' draft healthcare proposal currently being weighed by three committees, employers who choose not to provide basic health insurance to workers would have to pay an 8 percent penalty based on their overall payroll.

Conservative groups like the National Federation of Independent Business have warned that such a mandate could cause hundreds of thousands of jobs to be lost.

The study by the Goldman School was conducted for the Institute for America’s Future and the Economic Policy Institute.

"Concerns about significant job losses resulting from such a policy are unfounded," said the study, done by Phillip Cryan at the Goldman School. "Most likely there will be significant job gains. At the very worst, job losses would represent a few hundredths of one percent of employed workers."

The Institute for America's Future is aligned with the liberal Campaign for America's Future which, according to its website "spearheads the development of a compelling progressive economic agenda and message." The Economic Policy Institute was created to "broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers," according to its website.

Wal-Mart on Tuesday announced its support for an employer mandate, providing a political boost to the concept. In announcing its support Wal-Mart broke with the majority of the business community.