Why Tie Health Insurance to a Job?
Posted by Liberty on December 10, 2008
“Not many people are buying cars built 60 years ago. No one is watching TV on a set manufactured in the 1940s. Patients are not lining up to see a doctor who hasn’t cracked a book since before the polio vaccine was discovered. Why, then, do millions of Americans get their health care through an employer-based system from the 1940s?
Employers didn’t start offering health benefits roughly 60 years ago because they were experts in medical decisions. It was a way of circumventing the World War II wage and price controls. Barred from offering higher salaries to attract workers, employers offered health insurance instead. Aided by an IRS ruling that said workers who received health benefits did not have to pay income taxes on them, and by the fact that employers could write off the cost of the health benefits as a business related expense, this accidental arrangement became the primary way most Americans access health care.”
So the government’s involvement helped create the health care situation that we have now? Why am I not surprised?
“…the employer-based system is inefficient. Each employer purchases health insurance separately. According to a recent estimate by the McKinsey Global Institute, this adds more than $75 billion in underwriting, marketing, sales, billing and other administrative costs that offer no health benefits. More than half of all American employers who offer health-care benefits don’t offer their employees a choice. Consequently, most Americans don’t have the option of giving their business to insurance companies that treat them well and only cover what they need. This prevents the usual market forces from holding down costs.”
This is thought-provoking, in the least. I’m a little skeptical about their conclusion that state or regional insurance exchanges are necessary (you’ll have to read the article) but this article definitely makes the case that our current system is outdated. Oh, and in the spirit of the Fairness Doctrine, one of the authors is a confessed Democrat.