Allowing or requiring states to add mandated benefits or public-sector rules to the essential health benefits package without giving strong consideration to the added cost will further undermine the affordability of health coverage.
The Institute of Medicine recognized the relationship between the scope of the essential health care benefits package and its cost when it cautioned last fall that “the EHB must be affordable for consumers, employers and taxpayers.”
Unless HHS and state lawmakers heed this wise advice, the essential health care benefits package will succeed only in making health care coverage more costly for small businesses and families.
Neil Trautwein is vice president and employee benefits policy counsel at the National Retail Federation and chairman of the Essential Health Benefits Coalition.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.