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JLeslie's avatar

I know many people on fluther are in favor of universal healthcare, but are you also in favor of requiring an employer to provide health insurance?

Asked by JLeslie (58779points) April 23rd, 2010

I’m just curious. I’m against it, unless someone changes my mind today.

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21 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

I am in favor of the State providing universal health care, but the insurance companies successfully bought their way out of the competition. That’s why the US will remain way down the list of developed countries when it comes to health metrics such as age expectancy and infant mortality.

It’s a crime and a shame. but $ millions will buy you a compliant govenrment.

janbb's avatar

We seem to be stuck in this paradigm so being in favor or not in favor doesn’t make much difference. I, too, would like to see universal government run healthcare and as someone involved with a family business, I know what a burden providing healthcare for employees is. But we don’t even seem to be able to move molehills in this country, let alone mountains.

alive's avatar

if we lived in a nation that already provided universal heath care then (obviously) employers wouldn’t need to provide heath insurance.

however, since we (the US) does not have a universal heath care system, it seems pertinent that employers DO provide the group heath plans that employees can opt-in to because otherwise most heath care is REALLY unaffordable (for your average middle class and working class americans)

JLeslie's avatar

@alive If the employer paid us the money they pay the insurance company then we could afford it better, and we could choose our insurance.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

If work is paying, I’m all for it!

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie except employers don’t think that way, they think we can shrink our HR expenses by x, and then give ourselves a bonus.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Well, if you don’t require employers to provide it you put the full burden on the people, which being that each purchases as an individual, raises the overall direct cost which would at best be partially and inconsistently off-set by added pay. But by requiring employers to provide it, you add extra overhead which will likely be passed on to their customers – how much would likely be determined in no small part by what % of employers already provided health plans. In the case of small businesses, without subsidies or exceptions the added expense may force cuts or closure if they are otherwise unable to compete with their larger competitors. These costs aren’t as obvious but no less real.

As to whether or not I’m in favor of it… I suppose I am as it seems like an easier way to sell it overall. Though I strongly believe the system as a whole missed a very real opportunity for much more positive change than the crumbs we were given.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws I agree. If the government tomorrow said it was illegal for employers to give health insurance the employer would just add the money saved to its’ own bottom line. But, over time the employers who pays more would get the employees hopefully, and so salaries would go up. I would be ok with the employer offering a certain amount of money for health insurance, but the employee can go out and select his own.

JLeslie's avatar

I just don’t see why a “group” has more power, when essentially it is a group no matter what. If CIGNA has 3 plans to choose from, and individuals sign up for plan B, and there are 300,000 people in plan B, how is that different than CIGNA having 300,000 people in plan B because 6 companies with 50,000 employees each are in plan B? CIGNA still has the same amount of people participating.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I’m not understanding the point of contention here.

JLeslie's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Who are you addressing? Me?

JLeslie's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Well, I think very small businesses who don;t need to offer it should not be forced. Also, I do not really get to choose anythign but the healthcare my husband’s company offers, and I hate it. If I go outside of what the employer offers and shop for insurance myself I lose the money they pay for my insurance and the insurance companies charge me more because I am an individual. I don’t like the whole set-up.

alive's avatar

@JLeslie there is no law that says an employer has to pay you more money so that you can afford your own health insurance. there is a Min wage law and that is the only responsibility that a business has to its employees.

and a parent with 4 children is going to need more money for insurance, than a person with no children. should an employer pay a parent more money than a person with no children, just so they can afford heath insurance? who says that extra pay will go toward insurance?

also, about your “group” question. the reason insurance companies make deals with business is because it is easier to get a group that way than getting many individuals separately to sign up. kind of how Coca Cola and Pepsi will make a business/restaurant sign a contract with them.

Insurers are basically doing the same thing. they get a contract…. not to mention insurance companies are wack! (to put it nicely).

Keysha's avatar

I think we should have universal health care, and to do that, we should have mandatory prices for insurance companies. If the prices were regulated and made reasonable for deductibles and such, we would all be able to choose what we want. Then companies would not have to provide insurance, because there would be no group discounts, it would all be the same price, and all insurance companies would charge the same price so we could choose based on what we got, not on what we could afford.

JLeslie's avatar

@alive I know there is no law that an employer has to pay you more so I can afford insurance, but people seem to be stating that employers are going to be required to provide insurance during this whole healthcare debate of late. I am not sure where everythin wound up with that? Does an employer have to provide health insurance to full time workers? I thought they did, I thought that is one of the reasons Walmart likes part-timers.

I never support paying someone more because they are married or have children, people should be paid for their skill.

About the “groups” I just disagree with it. My husband’s company made a deal with BCBS because one of the CXO level people had a friend who worked for BCBS, even though a lot of company were not for switching (we used have a choice between CIGNA and United) they truned some arms for the good ol’ boy system and conveinced them to give BCBS a shot. So now my choice is BCBS period. Insurance through employers takes the choice away from the individual and puts it with the corporations more ways than one.

I get my homes insurance and car insurance through USAA, I am not part of a group, but of course everyone who has USAA insurance is part of a group so to speak, our costs are spread across everyone who buys insurance from them. When we have a hurricanes our costs might go up for a few years (although I don’t think mine did) or we don’t get a check back at the end (that did happen for a couple of years, I get a check at the end of the year if their kitty is full, I have no idea if other insurers do that??) That sounds more fair to me.

laureth's avatar

Here’s something most people don’t think about. Having universal health insurance, government as single-payer, makes that country’s products more competitive in the global marketplace. One reason the American auto companies are being dragged down is their obligation to their employees (both current and retired) for health benefits. Especially the retirees – as people age, bills go way up. GM says healthcare costs add between $1,500 and $2,000 to the sticker price of every automobile it makes.

Meanwhile, Japanese, German, and other imported cars are priced lower, in part because the health care burden is not on the shoulders of the employer. (If you look at it one way, those governments are subsidizing the cost of the car.) By divesting themselves of health care costs, American companies would gain a competitive advantage.

As such, and for several other reasons, I am in favor of single-payer health coverage in the United States.

JeffVader's avatar

I’m not really sure how taxes in America work. However, I dont object to the principal of the employer having to provide a basic level of insurance, which the employee can then either choose to upgrade or not.

mattbrowne's avatar

In Germany this is required by law. Employer pays 50%. Employee pays 50%.

alive's avatar

@JLeslie it sounds like you are more upset that the employer does not provide options of diff heath insurances, not that employers shouldn’t offer anything at all.

if that is the case, then yes, i agree.

unfortunately, heath care is a business… and the right wing in this country isn’t willing to provide basic health care to its citizens, therefore employers offer to do it in order to draw more candidates to apply for their jobs.

laureth's avatar

@mattbrowne – what happens when the person is unemployed? Are they still required to have insurance? Who pays?

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