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  Employer's Take on Government Run Health Care  
  Some have compared President Barack Obama's proposed health care reform to socialism, while others have shown strong support for a complete health care overhaul, which would include a public plan that would compete with private insurers.

To learn what some in the corporate arena think, Aon Consulting initiated a health care reform survey, asking more than 1,100 employers their opinions on key issues in the debate, such as the government-sponsored public plan, employer mandate, financing reform and other important policy proposals under consideration in Washington. The survey targeted benefits managers and other senior human resources representatives within organizations around the country with anywhere from 50 to more than 10,000 employees.

According to the findings, most respondents (81% to be exact) oppose having a government-run, national health care plan similar to Canada's program. A whopping 93% responded in favor of continuing an employer-based health care system as a way to increase the number of Americans with medical coverage, "but with a greater focus on wellness and chronic condition management and evidence-based medicine guidelines."

Under Obama's original proposal, an employer mandate would be put in place requiring most employers to provide coverage to employees or pay into a government fund for Americans without health insurance. Those that do not offer minimum group health coverage or are not exempt (i.e., small employers) would have to decide whether to pay the 6% to 8% of payroll to the government fund or sponsor group health coverage. 63% of respondents opposed the employer mandate.

it seems that Obama's "public option" health care is not only opposed by those responding to Aon's survey, but also by many other American citizens, and even some Democrats within the Senate. Opposition to the plan is what prompted Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) to propose the idea of a nonprofit insurance co-op. The co-op, modeled after rural electric and agricultural cooperatives of the Midwest, would offer insurance through a nonprofit, nongovernmental consumer entity run by its members.

In regards to financing health care reform, respondents believe the least preferred method of financing would be changing or limiting the tax treatment of employer-sponsored group health coverage. Instead, respondents favored the utilization of comparative effectiveness research to eliminate low-value-added medical and prescription drug services, changing physician and hospital reimbursement or individual lifestyle taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

With opposition from most Republicans and even some Democrats, there is talk that Obama's "public option" health plan may be dropped completely, though Obama's team doubts the public option will disappear.

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