IT Firms Uneasy with Some Health Care Reforms

A new survey shows the IT industry generally supports health care reform, including a public option, but concerns center on higher taxes and more government involvement.

Mirroring the current congressional debate, the IT industry generally supports health care reform but is uneasy with many of the legislative solutions currently on the table. According to a survey released Oct. 6 by CompTIA, the IT industry is closely watching the debate, particularly provisions involving small businesses.
The survey shows 76 percent of IT firms support pooling the purchasing power of small businesses to lower premiums or to get better coverage. IT companies also overwhelmingly (72 percent) support a small business exemption to any employer mandate, even though only 43 percent actually support such a mandate.
"Rising health care costs have perennially topped our members' list of concerns," Bob Kramer, CompTIA's vice president of Public Policy, said in a statement accompanying the survey. "It hits their bottom line hard, making it more difficult with each passing year to provide health care. Still, approximately 90 percent of the IT industry provides health care coverage to its employees. That's why the present debate means so much. They want reform. They want to hold costs down. They want more options. And they see a Congress very close to deciding on these key matters, which will immediately affect millions of their workers."
Other data from the survey shows 77 percent of IT firms feel health care reform should cover pre-existing conditions, allow portability and prevent loss of insurance due to change in medical status. In addition, 62 percent support the controversial public option to compete with the private sector to lower costs. Almost 60 percent believe that health care reform will lead to higher taxes.
"As the survey clearly reveals, even among a somewhat homogenous group-the IT industry-a wide diversity of opinion exists," said Kramer. "While some choices like a public option have powerful appeal, companies seem to recognize that reform could have less desirable side effects, too."
Kramer added, "Costs avoided up front may not liberate them from other challenges, such as higher taxes and bigger government."
The online survey was conducted Sept. 14-25 with an overall sample size of 392 IT firms. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.