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In the Nation's Interest

Support Choice and Competition in Healthcare Reform Through Sen. Wyden’s Free Choice Amendment

Several major business lobby groups have sent letters to Members of Congress opposing Senator Wyden’s amendment. In so doing, they have supported an expansion of the current unaffordable system. Some business leaders have recognized the need for change. Contrary to the position of the largest business lobby groups, a majority of business leaders (62 percent) believe that the employer-based system is unsustainable.

Senator Wyden’s “Free Choice” amendment protects employer insurance plans but opens the door to choice by giving employees the option to join the proposed health exchanges. The big business lobbies fear that choice would erode the employer-based system. However, every American taxpayer currently subsidizes, and would continue to subsidize, employer-paid health insurance through the income tax exclusion.  CED advocates a cost-conscious choice among competing plans. Under the current Finance Committee bill, only 25 million Americans would have access to state-based exchanges. Such small pools would be unattractive to insurance competition and would invite adverse selection. Costs in both public and private budgets would continue to grow. 

CED strongly urges the Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce, and other business lobbies to change their position and support competition and choice in health care through the Wyden amendment.


This column was originally featured in The Hill.