Monday, August 3, 2009

FT Against US Employer Health Care

Matt Miller makes a persuasive case against employer based health care in his Financial Times article:
America’s unique employer-based healthcare system may have made sense 50 years ago, when healthcare was cheap and business faced little global competition. But today’s circumstances are radically different. Soaring health costs strangle business and absorb cash that could otherwise go to wages. The link between healthcare and employment explains why millions of Americans have lost coverage during this recession. Budding entrepreneurs with ill spouses or children stay in jobs they loathe for fear of losing the insurance they need. Keeping employers at the core of the welfare state is bad for business, bad for the economy and bad for families.

With flaws like these you would think a prime goal of health reform would be to give everyone access to group health coverage outside the employer setting. But you would be wrong. Amazingly, this goal was taken off the table at the start. President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress feared that moving beyond the employer-based system would leave them assailed as “socialists”. Business feared being slammed by unions for “shirking responsibilities”. Unions feared that if health benefits were no longer shaped through collective bargaining, their standing would fall further. Everyone in Washington feared too much “change”.
From The Financial Times article, July 30, 2009, "America’s healthcare should no longer be tied to jobs" by Matt Miller.

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