Originally I was all for my employer picking up some, if not all, of the cost of my health care insurance. It made sense. If my employer gave me $1 an hour raise, I’d have to give the IRS 15 cents of it for a net gain of 85 cents. If my employer instead put that dollar toward my health insurance, then I was a full one dollar ahead of the game. Not only that, but my employer had bargaining power I, as an individual, didn’t have. That worked nicely, if not perfectly, for awhile. Then things began to change.
Insurance company CEOs got bigger salaries based on how much money the company made. Fair enough, except that you could make more money by denying claims, holding up payments to medical providers and drawing interest on that money. You could look at a group to see what the average age was and then increase your price; you could look at the pay-out history and then raise the price of premiums. And they did.
In response, employers would shop for cheaper coverage by changing companies frequently. That could mean you would have to change doctors or pay for “out of network” providers. That also brought about other adjustments such as a higher deductible or a higher co-pay (maybe both). Unfortunately, premiums increased so much that some employers simply could no longer afford to offer health coverage, while others simply give you a raise with one hand and then take it away with the other by raising the employee contribution.
Finally, as millions are experiencing, if you lose your job, you lose your health insurance. This is even more serious when we are in the midst of a pandemic. The Affordable Care Act did help people with pre-existing conditions and it did help to expand Medicaid, covering millions previously without any health insurance. But it did not control cost. It treated health care as a commodity you could purchase if you could pay. That leaves many people out.
So while politicians say they are for employer-based health care, what are they really advocating? Requiring all employers to offer health care? Are they not going to cover the unemployed and their families? You really need to ask these questions before November 3.
Medicare for All would cover everyone all the time and pay for all medically necessary treatment at a cost 10 to 20% less than what we are spending now as a nation. It could be financed a number of ways without hurting your pocketbook. There would be no in-network – out-of-network issues. There would be no co-pay and no deductibles. There would be no one to tell you, “this procedure is not covered.” Best of all, you would never see a bill.
Let the candidates know your choice.
Arthur C. Donart, Ph. D.