Most employers aren’t in a hurry to rush Big Health Reform, according to a survey from Mercer, the benefits consultants. Walmart is the exception, only one of the 11% of employers who support broad-based reform, based on the company’s statement of July 1, 2009.

Walmart surprised many analysts with its strong endorsement of Big Reform, which began,

As health care reform enters the next phase, we came together at this point in the debate to add our combined voices to the momentum building behind reform. We believe the time for comprehensive reform is now. The present system is not sustainable. The status quo is not an option.

Walmart is clearly an “N” of “1” in its role as the largest firm in the Fortune 100. The company is also unique in its whole-hearted support of comprehensive reform.

Compare the company to other employers operating in the US. In Employers Prefer Incremental Approach to Health Reform, Mercer polled 329 US employers in June and found that 2 in 3 (67%) want a go-slow approach to reforming the American health care system. The first desired phase of reform would include incentives to improve health care quality and efficiency, such as provider pay-for-performance, and greater adoption of health information technology.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: In just a matter of months, employers Big Support for Big Health Reform has eroded. What’s changed? It’s the recession, stupid. Having lost another half-million jobs in June, the American economy has not apparently hit its bottom…yet. It’s also the uncertainty of the recession’s depth and breadth: Mercer found that employers are now more concerned about the costs involved in health reform and how they might be called upon to fill a gap in what’s promised versus what’s funded. This would in particular relate to a potential employer mandate that may be written into a Congressional bill.

The softening of employers, who as recently as 2008 were quite bullish overall on major health reform, also softens the prospects for comprehensive reform to pass in 2009.

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