OK, how many years have I been saying this? Health care needs to be divorced from employment. It just does. I understand how we got here, but it’s no longer a model that’s working.
Now, changing that won’t be easy. But we need to.
But now that this economic landscape is making this fact obvious to many people, I fear it’s leading (or we will be lead) to universal, government-supplied health care. And that freaks me out. And I don’t think it’s the answer.
We can still have private health care. Just not tied to employment. And while we’re at it, how about if we remove the requirements on what must be covered? In a competitive marketplace, those requirements will not be necessary. If our family want to seek insurance that doesn’t cover mental health, we should be able to. If a couple of gay men, or a couple in their 50s, or single men, or even married young couples or whomever – wants to seek healthcare that excludes maternity care, they should be able to.
I think we’ll see costs come down (competition is great for this) – not only for health insurance premiums, but for the cost of health care. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll also see consumers finally shopping around for health care.
Curious what bothers me about government-supplied health care?
– if there’s no cost to the consumer (patient) or the cost is very low, it encourages overuse.
– you know how we get tax deductions on mortgage interest because the government wants to encourage home ownership? or how the federal government just withholds federal highway money from states if they dare to exercise their Constitutional right to enact laws as they please – or to not enact laws? i think the government will wield similar power with its health insurance. specifically, I’m thinking about vaccines.
– as I’ve said before (though apparently not on here?), I don’t think that government health care is the ticket to better maternity care and better deliveries. The countries who have largely midwife attended births, yes, also happen to have government health care. But as Henci Goer says in her book, just because two things coincide, doesn’t mean that there is a causal relationship. IMO, those countries have such a large number of midwife (or home) births because that is their culture. If you ask them, they can’t imagine why Americans use hospitals and OBs. But this is not OUR culture. And can you IMAGINE the response if the government health care would pay for an OB only if there was an actual medical need, as is the case in some other countries? Ha. (Plus, there’s no way our midwife community could possibly take on that workload. In Des Moines, that’d leave us with fewer than 10 providers, if you cound the lay midwives and bring everyone out of retirement.)
– it’s really not the federal government’s job. I’ve read the constitution. Health Care is just not in there.
OK, I’ll say it. I’m going to sound mean and judgemental, but I don’t care. In the paper today is a sob story of a woman who lost her job in the fall and struggles to pay her COBRA so she can get her needed insulin and supplies. I feel bad for her. But the story doesn’t address why she hasn’t found another job with health benefits, or why her “self-employed” husband can’t get a job with health benefits. I realize that perhaps she wants a job that she doesn’t feel is below her college education, or perhaps he wants to pursue his dream of self-employment. But when it comes down to it, families sometimes have to do things they don’t want to do in order to get through tough times. I know several places that are hiring full time staff, cashiers or stocking or the like, that have health benefits. And from personal experience, a college degree really doesn’t prevent someone from taking a job in retail or similar. Even if it’s not your dream job, it’ll get you by.
Unless she’s done the math, and she’s better off financially on unemployment and COBRA, in which case she has no business complaining to the paper.