Government initiatives to expand access to employer-based health insurance

Tara R Sklar, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Employer-based health insurance is declining at records rates, which leaves an increasing number of people without access to affordable health insurance. As a result, municipalities are experiencing financial difficulties to provide health care services for their growing uninsured population. In attempt to combat this issue, three health polices have emerged within the last ten years, called Living Wage with a health insurance provision, Pay or Play, and Health Care Preference. These policies are gaining popularity as civic leaders recognize their ability to promote a public health goal by leveraging the power of city and county contracts to include a health insurance component in the competitive bidding practice for government contracts. This is the first paper to conduct a retrospective analysis on whether these three health policies have been able to increase access to employer-based health insurance and/or support the local health care safety net based on the experiences of six municipalities over a 5-year period from 2001-2006. Although there was variation between the effectiveness of the policies, all three demonstrated success in that a number of contractors extended existing health insurance to employees not previously covered and the increased cost of contracting for the local government was, on average, less than 1 percent of the total operating budget.

Subject Area

Public administration|Health care

Recommended Citation

Sklar, Tara R, "Government initiatives to expand access to employer-based health insurance" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1445108.