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Manufacturers Hit Hard by Affordable Care Act

New survey shows manufacturers hit hard by Affordable Care Act.

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More than three-fourths of manufacturers identified rising health care and insurance costs as their most important challenge, according to the latest National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers for Q4. Manufacturers have ranked this issue as their highest primary challenge all year.

“Costs and uncertainty are up, and manufacturers’ optimism is down thanks to the health care reform law,” said NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse. “The health care law has weighed heavily on manufacturers all year long—and their concerns are not going away. It is standing in the way of manufacturing growth by seriously limiting investment and job creation.”

More than 90 percent of manufacturers stated their health insurance premiums had increased, and a significant portion have had to increase employee copays (58.6 percent), reduce coverage (27.7 percent) and/or change insurance providers (17.6 percent) to lower their costs.

According to the survey, the Affordable Care Act and the accompanying uncertainties have had effects that extend well beyond premium payments and have placed a roadblock in manufacturers’ efforts to invest and grow. When asked about how these uncertainties have impacted their business, nearly one-third said they had reduced their outlook for 2014, and a sizable percentage had reduced employment or stopped hiring (23.1 percent) and/or reduced or slowed down their business investment (20.2 percent).

Manufacturers cited an unfavorable business climate (76.1 percent) as their second-most pressing challenge. When asked about policies that manufacturers want to see from policymakers in 2014, respondents pointed to finding ways to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses (76.9 percent) and passing comprehensive tax reform (67.5 percent) as important priorities. In addition, 86.3 percent want the President and Congress to find a long-term solution to the nation’s budgetary challenges. 

The NAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers was conducted in mid to late November among the NAM’s membership of small, medium and large manufacturers. For more information, you may call Chad Moutray at the NAM office at (202) 637-3148.

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