Obamacare comes with something called the employer mandate, which, in a roundabout way, requires businesses with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance or pay a fine to the government.
If a company with 50 or more employees does not offer insurance, an employee could choose to get health insurance through the marketplace created by Obamacare. If just one employee gets insurance through the marketplace and qualifies for a government-subsidized premium, the company has to pay a hefty fine. The intent is to offset the costs the government incurs when subsidizing premiums.
The fine is roughly $3,000 a year multiplied by the number of full-time employees, minus 30. (This particular formula goes into effect in 2016.) So if a 100-person company does not offer health insurance, and just one employee gets subsidized insurance on the marketplace, the company has to pay a fine to the tune of $3,000 multiplied by 70.
But illegal immigrants — including those who qualify for a work permit under the executive action — do not qualify for Obamacare. So if a company doesn’t offer health insurance, and they only hire illegal immigrants, there is no danger of a fine, because the illegal immigrant workers won’t be able to apply for coverage on the marketplace. The company saves a good bit of money by not offering insurance and not paying a fine.
“Regardless of the executive action, Obamacare makes natives or documented immigrants more expensive to hire, relative to undocumented workers, than they would have been without Obamacare,” said Casey Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, who has been critical of the health care law. “With the executive action, Obamacare pushes even more employers to hire immigrants.”