McKinsey is out with the results of a survey of 1,300 employers (How US health care reform will affect employee benefits), and the lead finding is a shocker: a third or more are likely to drop health insurance coverage for their workers as Obamacare takes effect. Clearly, not all bosses fully understand the economics of the new health insurance universe. Right now, 30% of respondents to McKinsey’s survey “will definitely or probably stop offering ESI in the years after 2014”—but 50% of those with “high awareness of reform” will do so. (The CBO has been assuming that just 7% of insured workers will be affected.) Almost all workers are likely to stay with their current employers even if they lose coverage—what else are they going to do, really?—though most expect “increased compensation” to offset their having to pay for insurance on their own (and how likely are they to get that?).
In the short term, this could provoke a real social emergency, as scores of millions are thrown onto the private individual insurance market and forced to pay $1,000 a month for crappy coverage. But this could vastly increase the constituency for a single-payer scheme, such as Medicare for All—assuming our rulers don’t destroy Medicare first.