Saturday, March 11, 2006

sorry Bob, you're employee number ten here

Ugh...this is why leaving Massachusetts was good for my health: finally they are doing something about health insurance after it steadly going to shit since about my high school years. Alas, the legislation is the classic too-little-too-late ompromise from the crypto-reactionary Democratic leadership of the Mass State Legislature:

At a closed State House meeting that included representatives of the business community, Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and Senate President Robert E. Travaglini agreed to assess companies with 10 or more employees that do not provide health coverage $295 a year for each worker, said several negotiators, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
It's rather impressive to see a piece of legislation offend my wonkish sensibilities on two contradicting fronts, but the MA bill manages to do it. First, employer mandates are a bad idea. The focus should be, as it is in Oregon, on severing the link between health care and employment. That said, if you're going to impose an employer mandate, you may want to use a realistic amount. Charging socially irresponsible corporations $295 per worker per year is a bit weird: $295 won't buy you any insurance I've ever heard of. In fact, the only thing $295 will do is alleviate some guilt over stiffing your employees.

Advocates of the plan argue that the $295 sum can be easily raised once instituted, though my guess is it's as likely to go down as up. Nevertheless, what everyone's crowing about -- the codification of health care as an employer responsibility -- seems to me a sad compromise made palatable because the plan will reduce the uninsured. Liberals shouldn't forget that employer-sponsored health care is bad stuff. It reduces innovation, shackles workers to bad jobs, leaves workers' health coverage vulnerable to the vagaries of outsourcing and the employment cycle, builds in a variety of inefficiencies, and so on. It may be a burden for business, but it massively increases worker dependence on employers. In the short-term, enlarging it might be necessary to force employers to support single-payer and to reduce the uninsured, but liberals should always have an eye on its eventual replacement. That's why, if this is a long game towards comprehensive health reform, today is a victory. If, on the other hand, it becomes a nationwide template for moderate, technocratic legislators to marginally improve access to care while markedly reducing agitation for overhaul, it's anything but. from Ezra Klein @ Tapped

Español | Deutsche | Français | Italiano | Português| Ch| Jp| Ko




Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

All original material of whatever nature
created by Nicholas Winslow and included in
this weblog and any related pages, including archives,
is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike license
unless otherwise expressly stated (2006)