Sunday, April 11, 2010

Health Care or Your Job?

A reader comments:

I know that many Americans are "giddy" over the passage of the president's health care bill. As an employer, I can tell you that my peers and I are anything but excited. All we can see is that we are now going to have an additional expense and liability regarding people that we hire.

Thus, what those who are employees need to understand is that they may well have health coverage, but there is a very good chance that they will not have a job.

In most businesses the three most expensive things to deal with are inventory, taxes and people. Very candidly, in most businesses people are the greatest expense; therefore, when one is trying to curtail costs, people are the first expense to go. Many of my peers will spend the next several months figuring out how to begin downsizing ether through eliminating jobs that are not essential, or not replacing workers who leave because of attrition.

Employers also don't know what the playing field is yet, only that we now have an additional expense. The president's jobs bill is less than no incentive; thus, it will make absolutely no difference in the unemployment rate going down in the future.

So, please remain giddy that we have now surrendered one-seventh of the U.S. economy to the federal government. Keep in mind that the federal government runs the Veterans Administration, Medicare, Medicaid and the bulk of the U.S. rail service. Coincidentally, all of them are broke and can't pay their bills.

H. Barnes

Some large employers may consider lay-offs in dealing with the new health care reform bill, but the Delta has few large employers. A more realistic threat is that employers may decide to pay the $175 fine per employee for NOT offering health care and let the employees go find their own.

If you currently have employer funded health care, you know that it costs your employer significantly more than $175 to provide you with health coverage. Actually, other than salaries, it is the second largest expense that employers currently face.

Insurance costs will continue to rise for all of us, including employers. You can't add 750,000 people to Mississippi's insured roll without someone having to pay for it... and that will continue to be the taxpayers!

These newly insured will continue to use our hospital ERs like primary care clinics, running up exorbitant bills for their convenience. ER Docs in this state are already practicing "defensive" medicine by over utilization of expensive tests and procedures to keep them out of our "Jackpot Justice" courtrooms. Insurance costs for the newly covered will continue to be passed on to those currently insured (just as it has been for the past 75 years!)

Will we have enough primary care physicians? No. There are currently so many disincentives for doctors to practice in Mississippi that taxing the system further will only add to that list. We didn't need health care reform, we need "system" reform! Clean up the waste and abuses in our Medicaid system; quit paying people to invent "disabilities" that don't exist; stop those who have made welfare a "way of life" as an option to employment!

Once again, in our democratic rush to "fix" something, we have missed the mark. Nothing in this reform package does anything about stopping the waste and abuse in our system; nothing addresses the spiraling costs of pharmaceuticals or hospital stays.

In essence, we have "fixed" nothing that was broken! All this reform bill will do is increase the current costs of health care, while reducing its availability and quality. We should all be proud.