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Six in ten support ACA employer mandate, says new Kaiser poll

Keith Ward, from left, Deborah Owens, and Gwen Vinson help clients navigate the Affordable Care Act and choose the right plan at Urban Ministries in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 30, 2013. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT)
Keith Ward, from left, Deborah Owens, and Gwen Vinson help clients navigate the Affordable Care Act and choose the right plan at Urban Ministries in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 30, 2013. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT) MCT

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll shows 60 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act’s “employer mandate,” while 38 percent view the provision negatively.

The mandate requires large businesses with 100 or more workers to provide affordable health insurance for full-time workers or face a penalty of $2,000 per employee beginning in 2015. The rules allow these employers to cover only 70 percent of eligible employees in 2015 and 95 percent in 2016 and beyond.

Employers with 50 to 99 workers have until 2016 to comply with the mandate or face similar penalties.

The employer mandate has been controversial since the health law was passed in 2010. Critics claim the provision gives businesses a financial incentive to keep their employees on part-time schedules and their workforce below the levels that mandate coverage. That hurts job creation and employee pay.

The Kaiser poll found that support for the mandate increases to 76 percent after opponents are told that “most employers with 100 or more workers already offer health insurance and won’t have to pay the fine.”

But those with an unfavorable view of the mandate jumps to 68 percent when supporters are told “some employers are moving some workers from full time to part time to avoid paying the fine.”

The poll also found that 84 percent have heard “only a little” or “nothing at all” about the Supreme Court’s King vs. Burwell case that will determine whether people in 37 states that use the federal HealthCare.gov website can continue to get tax credits to help pay for their marketplace coverage.

To see the poll, go to http://bit.ly/1AIldyX

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