Almost three out of five Americans under age 65 have employment-based health insurance – but with costs rising, this coverage is under serious pressure. Congress is now finalizing plans to require more employers to contribute to coverage for their workers. The latest Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) examines this issue, known as the employer mandate, and explains how proposed legislation would expand job-based health insurance. Some of the issues the brief discusses:

  • Why major employers as diverse as Walmart and the AFL-CIO have endorsed a proposed employer mandate – and why an equally diverse range of organizations have opposed it.
  • The history of employer mandates and “pay or play” proposals.
  • The differences between the current House and Senate bills on this issue.
  • How the legislation would affect workers’ insurance coverage.

The Health Policy Briefs are geared to policy makers, congressional staffers, and others who need short, jargon-free explanations of health policy basics. The briefs include competing arguments from various sides of policy proposals and the relevant research supporting each perspective.

Previous policy briefs have addressed:

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Health Policy Briefs offer more context than fact sheets but are a quicker read than most backgrounder papers. The information is objective and reviewed by Health Affairs authors and other specialists with years of expertise in health policy.

Sign up for an e-mail alert about upcoming briefs. The briefs are also available from the RWJF’s Web site. Please feel free to forward to any of your colleagues who are tracking health issues. And after you’ve taken a look, we would welcome your feedback at