New Survey Shows Manufacturers Struggling Under the Affordable Care Act

NAM/IndustryWeek Survey Reveals Uncertainty, Pessimism

The latest National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers shows that skyrocketing health care costs and the troubled implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have created a significant and harmful level of uncertainty for manufacturers in the United States.

Rising health care costs retained their ranking as the top business challenge for manufacturers in the United States. This issue has ranked the highest in terms of primary challenges all year. In addition, fixing the long-term federal debt remains a high policy priority for manufacturers.

“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.”

Key survey findings include the following:


  • More than 77 percent of manufacturers identified rising health care and insurance costs as their most important challenge.
  • 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 ACA 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).


The NAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers was conducted among the NAM’s membership of small, medium and large manufacturers. Click here for the full survey results.

The NAM’s Growth Agenda spells out policies to keep manufacturing competitive. Click here to learn more.