Health Insurance ownership, and whoever thought making employers responsible for their employees’ health was a good idea?

Health Insurance ownership, and whoever thought making employers responsible for their employees’ health was a good idea?

During World War II Congress imposed wage controls on employers, so the insurance industry, their lobbyists and our public servants thought health insurance benefits should temporarily be a “pass through” expense where employers could recruit and retain good employees; a tax free benefit for employees and their families and a write off expense for the employer. This was supposed to be temporary, but in 1954 it became a permanent fabric of our society, where employers could leverage health insurance benefits as part of an overall incentive to attract and retain employees. Unfortunately, although admirable, this is regrettably a total failure and the worst outcome for American citizens. We have effectively shifted a psychosocial nanny state to the employer, since Presidents FDR and Truman could not muster enough support for nationalized healthcare.

The problem with this scenario is that we have delegated, probably the most important part of our lives, our health, to an employer or in many cases the government (Medicare/Medicaid). Employees and government beneficiaries expect and are awarded health insurance benefits, with no engagement in the process of examining through diligent research the content and substance, as well as personally picking health benefits, and paying for those benefits that fit their particular needs. It is well documented that when consumers are not involved in the purchase of products, tangible and intangible, they have little or no value, and therefore little understanding. Would you want your employer to pick your car, your house, your spouse, just because there is a tax incentive? Most employees have no idea what plan they have, the name of the company, the deductible or what co-insurance is. That is why, when there is a claim, everyone is surprised!

The choices in healthcare delivery is clear. Have American citizens adopt a universal healthcare system controlled and delegated by an autocratic body, that forces you into a plan, like an employer plan and Medicare or have a robust array of plans that everyone can decide what is best for them. We have seen how most social programs and intervention has ultimately worked against Americans. The USA is vastly different than all other countries. We must have the liberty to pick and choose our healthcare destiny.

~Frank Welsh, Lookout Alliance

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