Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why should businesses foot the bill for health?

Blogging about the US "from an international perspective" sometimes all you can do is wonder in astonishment at the things Americans take for granted. I'm talking about that big stuff that makes sense to nobody who lives anywhere else in the world -- but seems to be an article of faith in the USA.

Why do Americans continue insist -- year after year -- that it is the responsibility of companies to fund the health insurance of employees? Why would a country that would hope to be competitive in the global marketplace saddle employers with health care costs -- especially when that same country champions free trade? Why would that country-- or any other -- perpetuate a system that effectively chains many workers to jobs they don't like; to jobs they keep just because they need the insurance, reducing productivity and happiness (supposedly one of the founding goals of the Republic!)

....His small company can't hope to compete with the benefits much larger companies can afford to offer their employees.

"Their premiums are dramatically lower than ours are," Guernsey said. "They have leverage over the health care industry to be able to drive their premiums down, and yet we have to be able to compete with those folks. So it increasingly becomes a major competitive issue for us."
On one hand, you gotta feel for these small business guys. On the other, you sit next to one of these guys the plane and he will tell you he always votes Republican because he "hates taxes." But do the Democrats deliver anything different? We shall soon learn the answer...

And there are those Americans who don't have a clue what is in their own self-interest. A woman described as "a real estate appraiser and a massage therapist" is quoted as saying:
"I personally don't have health insurance because it is too expensive," she said. "But I want to get for myself what I need. And I don't want to be told what I can have and when I can have it. And I sure as hell -- excuse me -- don't want the government having my medical records running throughout the United States."
Certainly when you hear a comments like that, you realize a lack of health insurance is the least of her problems. When did the brainwashing start? Notice the CNN article makes no effort to correct her many mistakes. Such reporting -- the quoting of one inaccuracy after another without comment -- may go a long way toward perpetuating the myths.

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SPECIAL COVERAGE I live-blogged the spontaneous Obama victory celebration in Washington DC. Experience what it felt like to be among thousands of deliriously happy people gathered outside the White House. Click here.

Previously, I had been blogging about the Obama, McCain and the US election. I wrote about Sarah Palin on this blog even before McCain chose her to be his running mate. The choice was disappointing, and a possibility I had anticipated.

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