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Candidates’ Plans Hurt Workers?

Corporate benefits specialists — regardless of political affiliation — are not enamored of either John McCain or Barack Obama’s health care proposals, according to the American Benefits Council and Miller & Chevalier Chartered 2008 Corporate Health Care Policy Forecast Survey. The group says McCain’s proposal to repeal the tax exclusion for employer-provided health coverage and Obama’s proposal to compel employers to “pay or play” would hurt workers.

“The people responsible for structuring and managing employer-sponsored health plans, which cover more than 130 million Americans, are deeply skeptical about key elements of both presidential candidates’ reform proposals,” says James A. Klein, president of the American Benefits Council.

According to the survey, 74 percent of respondents say a repeal of the employee tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health coverage, proposed by McCain, would hurt the workforce.

Obama’s “pay or play” proposal would also hurt workers, according to 46 percent of respondents.

They would like to see more focus on cost (58 percent) and quality (74 percent) from both candidates. Issues that would benefit the workforce include disclosure of medical outcomes and pay for performance (76 percent) and promotion of information technology (64 percent).

Further findings indicate that 91 percent overwhelmingly support maintaining ERISA standards and oppose regulation of employer-sponsored health plans at the state level (84 percent).

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