“I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect. It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go.”

One of President Obama former top advisors, Robert Gibbs, thinks the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act will never become a reality. From benefitspro:

“I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect. It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go,” he said to a notably surprised audience.

The employer mandate has been delayed twice, he noted. The vast majority of employers with 100 or more employees offer health insurance, and there aren’t many employers who fall into the mandate window, he said.

His prediction about how the Obama administration will handle the politics around the employer mandate could be right, but his assertion that it is only “small part of the law” is just wrong.

The employer mandate was one of the largest revenue mechanisms in the law, helped keep total spending on exchange subsidies lower, and played a noticeable role in reducing the number of uninsured. The CBO projected that the one-year delay put in place by the administration will cost $12 billion and result in roughly half a million more people being uninsured.

Completely eliminating the employer mandate would be extremely costly for the federal government and make the law less effective at expanding coverage.

Photo by Broadbent Institute under creative commons license