Letter - The wrong prescription for health careThe health care reform bill passed by the House of Representatives last week is the wrong prescription for real improvement to our medical system. Our current health insurance system relies almost exclusively upon employer-based coverage.
To the editor:
The health care reform bill passed by the House of Representatives last week is the wrong prescription for real improvement to our medical system. Our current health insurance system relies almost exclusively upon employer-based coverage. This dependency began during World War II when, in an effort to control war-time inflation, the federal government imposed wage and price controls on employers. While millions of working-age men and women were overseas fighting in Europe and the Pacific, industrial employers back home were competing for the limited number of workers who could produce the food, clothing, and weapons needed by our GIs. Since employers could not raise wages to attract these workers, they turned to employment benefits like health insurance to entice new employees.
This accident of history has now plodded along for more than 70 years and has become dysfunctional in an employment environment that has drastically changed. Rather than correct this problem, the House bill would institute a pay-or-play system requiring employers to either purchase health insurance for their employees or pay an additional 8 percent tax on the employee’s wages. Essentially, the House bill would try to get out of the employer-insurance hole by digging deeper into it.
What’s more, the House bill would not save average Americans any money. The Congressional Budget Office, the agency charged with evaluating the financial costs of new legislation, considered the potential costs of coverage under the House bill. The report warned that an individual policy for a person working full-time at $22 per hour would cost $5,300 per year while a family policy would cost $15,000. In other words, the House bill would do nothing to control the cost of health insurance and would merely perpetuate our broken system.
Scott M. Dutcher