Hildegarde

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Wednesday

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It’s Wednesday, which is a day I’ve been thinking would be without blog posts for a while.  I’ve got one of those scheduling conflicts that I look back on and wonder how I got myself into–I teach a night class that goes until nine on Tuesday, then a day class that meets at eight on Wednesday, and with the drive that means I go to be around midnight and get up at four and feel like I’m walking into walls.

But it occurs to me that a lot of the discussion of the health care bill is going past each other.  I’ve been making general statements about the national stats, while the concerns of a lot of you here are for individual cases.

It seems to me that JEM, for instance, is supporting the health care bill because she thinks it will result in her daughter getting health insurance coverage–she expects that if the bill passes, her daughter, who works part time, will have health insurance while she now has none.

I think that that won’t happen. 

Rather, I think that what will happen if this health care bill passes is this:

The advantage for hiring people part time will disappear–now, an employer can hire part time and not have to pay for health care coverage.  After the bill, he’ll have to pay for coverage whether the employee works part or full time.

The sensible thing for him to do, then, is not to hire any more part time employees, and to fire the ones he has in favor of hiring more full time employees.  In most part time arrangements, a single full time employee can do the work of at least two part time employees, and in many jobs the ratio is even higher.  So if I now have 10 full time and 90 part time employees, I fire 45 part time employees and make the other 45 full time, and I save the cost of insurance for 45 people. 

But the bad new may be even worse than that.

The prices for health insurance being quoted are very low.  You couldn’t insure a single healthy adult at $400 a month in CT, and the reason is not that CT is naturall more expensive in that way.

Rather, CT mandates lots of coverage that all insurance policies in the state must carry.  FL  does not mandate so much coverage, so health insurance is cheaper precisely because it covers fewer things.

But the present health care bill will mandate coverage in a whole list of areas that are not mandated by the state of FL at the moment–for diagnostic tests, for mental health services, for rehab–

That will drive the cost of insurance up.

And the bill requires insurance companies to cover people with previously existing conditions, which will also drive the cost of insurance up.

Some of the original versions of this bill had provisions which would be helpful–all those provisions are now gone.

The health insurance companies are exempt from antitrust laws–they still are, under this bill.

Their premium prices are entirely unregulated–they still are, under this bill.

Mandated coverage is actually increased, making premiums higher.

And there is no alternative to dealing with the insurance companies.  A public option would have meant that if I didn’t like the way Aetna or Blue Cross was treating me, I had someplace else to go. 

With this bill, I have nowhere.

If you think this bill will insure people who are not insured–by all means, support it.

I think it will render even more people uninsured, and lead to a significantly more people unemployed at the same time.

I don’t see why I should support something I am sure will only make things worse.

And now, I’m going to go support some caffeine.

Written by janeh

March 17th, 2010 at 10:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses to 'Wednesday'

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  1. All true–but wait: there’s more! Since health care costs are pretty much the same per worker–that is, it doesn’t cost more to insure skilled labor than unskilled–the greatest rise will be in the cost to employers of unskilled workers–often the easiest jobs to automate away anyway.

    And anyone hoping to take early Social Security and retire at 62 is in a world of hurt. The money which might have covered a catastrophic care plan won’t come near covering all the new mandatory coverage which means you can’t quit until Medicare kicks in at 65. Working a dull soul-destroying job? You may be about to have three years added to your sentence.

    The good news for those people is that if the results are bad enough, Congress may have to take another final look at health care fairly soon. But that’s no comfort for the unskilled. If Wal-Mart buys more automated cashiers and Campbell Soup automates tomato-picking, those jobs won’t come back.

    One hears sometimes of the “unintended consequences” of legislation. I can’t speak to intention, but these consequences are quite foreseeable. Clearly those advocating the bill regard them as an acceptable price–for what is not clear. But then the advocates won’t be paying that price themselves.

    robert_piepenbrink

    17 Mar 10 at 8:00 pm

  2. I think that’s the thing that pisses me off the most.

    Why oh why isn’t the common run of “health care” good enough for the legislators who enact it? Please join us back here in the line, Senators…congresspersons. Please get a giant kick in your budget, please find out what life among the plebes is like.

    I might reconcile myself to the whole thing if there wasn’t an exemption for them. Injustice, anyone?

    Lymaree

    17 Mar 10 at 10:28 pm

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