Money Well Spent?

June 15, 2009 by  

Found interesting an article I just read on MSNBC.com — CBO: Senate health bill $1 trillion over 10 years. The Chief Budget Officer says the health care legislation currently being considered would cost $1 trillion over 10 years. The most interesting part of this $1 trillion bill is that while 39 million not with coverage currently would get it, this number would be offset by about 23 million losing their current coverage–15 million lose employer-provided coverage and another 8 million would lose it from other sources. This definitely seems like great legislation to me!

I am definitely a supporter of health care becoming more affordable, but not through mandates and penalties to business who cannot afford to provide coverage and individuals who choose not to get coverage. The company I am the Cheif Operating Officer for provides what I think is a nice program for our employees. While we don’t cover 100% of the insurance costs, we do provide individuals with 75% coverage for employees only covering themselves, and a lower percentage (can’t remember right now if it’s 50% or 60%) for family members. Health insurance adds significantly to our payroll and benefit budget. Fact of the matter is, if mandated, for example, to cover 100%, we would have to cut costs elsewhere to make up for this additional spend. Would those cuts come from general operational areas or from salaries and wages/reduced head count? Would small raises become smaller or non-existent? Inevitably, it would likely come from a mix of all. In essence, we would be able to spend less on goods and services (hurting the ), reduce headcount (hurting employment rates) and slowing salary growth (despite rising gas rates, inflation, cost of living, etc). It’s not as if companies, as a rule, are just rolling in extra cash and padding the pockets of the executives. Certainly that climate exists in some businesses, but I would speculate that is not the norm.

Additionally, some employees simply choose not to receive coverage. Using my company as an example again, by nature of the tech industry, we have a high percentage of single male employees in their low 20’s working for us. Most of these employees are in excellent health, and right or wrong, opt not to get health coverage as it would dip into their take home pay. Forcing them to purchase coverage is like forcing them to take a pay cut. Currently, an incentive for them to go ahead and spend that extra money each paycheck on health care coverage is that the money withheld for coverage is not taxed — but that, too, is in jeopardy. I speculate that taxing the health care deductions would lead to additional employees opting out of coverage. Of course, that is where the mandates to have coverage will come in. Catch 22, seems like.

Certainly there are many people who need health care insurance but can’t afford it though they are working hard for it. This bucket of individuals are the group I would gladly support getting some sort of assistance from the government. No, I don’t have the perfect remedy (nobody does), but I think there are far too many issues with the current legislation ideas being forced down our throats currently.

Just a month or so ago, I took a trip to the emergency room one night to get checked out, as I had pretty well convinced myself I might be having a heart attack. I spent over three hours in the ER, getting an EKG, blood tests, chest xrays… the works! Final determination was that I had a stress-educed panic attack. My favorite part of the whole things was the doctor telling me:

“I’m going to have to have you take 4 Tylenol, to appease the pencil pushers upstairs.” Funny how much those little pills cost!

Hmmm, maybe that’s the biggest issue right there. Fear of litigation & mal-practice suits along with insane drug costs.

Really, I am just tired of the government trying to mandate more and more aspects of our lives. But, seems as though our society has become so unintelligent that we need a bundle of baboons in Washington D.C. to tell us what is right and what we have to do. Well, as wonderfully run as our government is, I appreciate the “guidance” as I am apparently a lot stoopider than I thinked I waz.

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