Maryland’s Proposed Healthcare Mandate Will Result in Job Loss for Low-skilled and Fail to Reach Many In Need of Coverage

  • Publication Date: March 2006

  • Topics: Health Care

Washington, DC – In a special hearing being held today, Maryland lawmakers will consider a proposal to mandate employer-provided healthcare that, if approved, will put many of the state’s least-skilled out of work and still fail to reach a large portion of the uninsured.

The proposal broadens January’s large-employer healthcare mandate to cover the remaining businesses in the state, an action that would threaten the welfare of small businesses and low-skilled employees and ignore a large subsection of the uninsured.

Research from economists at Dartmouth University and the University of Michigan found that healthcare mandates increase labor costs for employers, which they must pass on either to customers in the form of higher prices, or to employees through reduced hours, lowered wages, or other cutbacks in benefits.

The economists also found that those who work close enough to the minimum wage that their wages cannot be fully adjusted downward will face a significant threat of job loss as a result of a mandate. Their research revealed that the least-educated, minorities, single parents, and women face the highest risk of job loss under an employer mandate.

Not only are healthcare mandates poor policy that will jeopardize the income of many low-skilled employees, but over 40 percent of the uninsured adults in Maryland are not employed and therefore would not be covered by this mandate.

“Employer-provided healthcare mandates hurt the very people they are intended to help,” said Mike Flynn, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Employment Policies Institute. “Attempting to remedy today’s healthcare problem through the employer will lead to job loss for the least-skilled and still leave a large number of the uninsured without coverage.”