If you are a U.S. worker now receiving company provided health care, and you’re also a Tea Party person hoping that the Republicans in the Congress will find a way to defund the Affordable Health Care Act, then you better be careful what you wish for! In spite of what you might wish to believe, your company does not want to provide you health care. The cost puts it at a big competitive disadvantage with companies that compete directly in its field and don’t provide health care, and also with companies around the globe in countries that have nationally sponsored universal health care systems — where in many cases the care and treatment provided is far superior to what’s provided in the U.S. In fact, our health care system in the United States ranks 34th among the major industrialized countries of the world in terms of quality of care and infant mortality. Nothing to write home about.
Champions of our privatized health care system like to boast that it’s the best because it’s a “free-market’ system. That’s a myth. There are only a handful of major health care providers in the U.S. That’s a price-fixing oligopoly, not a competitive free-market system. That’s why health care costs have risen so exorbitantly (10 or 20 times) the government’s reported annual inflation rate. And if you’re paying a portion of the cost of your plan, then you better know that you’re not getting a great deal. In fact, to tell the truth, you’re getting screwed America. Health care in this country (for most tests and procedures) is twice as expensive as anywhere else on the globe. That’s why people who need treatment and don’t have insurance travel to Mexico and even Singapore. Remember, private insurers are in business to make money, not provide you the best and most affordable health care. If you don’t understand that then you’re naive beyond hope. Look at the pay packages of the CEOs and executives who run some of these private insurance providers, they’re the most egregious (in terms of their greed and venality) found anywhere in corporate America. And believe me, that’s really saying something. Also remember, it’s these same criminals who make the day-to-day decisions about the cost of your health care. It’s not the free-market. And it’s not about your health.
Don’t kid yourself, companies (all U.S. corporations) want to get out of the health care business. And don’t think you’re a special case. Your company would be happy to replace you with someone who would work (do your same job) without the health care. That’s a business fact of life.
I’ll make the prediction that in five years time there won’t be any more employer sponsored health care. There may still be special packages for CEOs and other high level executives (as part of their employment contract) but it won’t be provided for the average, rank-and-file worker. Some major companies (Walgreens for example) are already moving to push their employees off onto the exchanges that are going to be a part of the Affordable Health Care Act. In the not too distant future these exchanges might be the only viable, cost-effective option available to most Americans. You better pray to God they work.
Like I said at the top — be careful what you wish for!
The Money Trader