Originally posted by StaggerLeeI just became eligible for insurance through my employer. In the information package, it shows my employer pays $177 every two weeks per person covered. That's more than $4600 annually. Why any employer would pay out $4600/employee rather than the $1500/year penalty is beyond me.
Well, isn't their current choice to pay out $4600/employee rather than $0/year? Why would the introduction of a penalty cause employers that are offering existing coverage to drop it?
Because by paying the fine, they are providing (indirectly) health insurance to their employees and saving money. Before, their employees would not have had health insurance. It boils down to empathy and caring for their employees. The plural of anecdote isn't data, but I do know small business owners who will stop offering insurance and pay the fine/tax because it's cheaper.
This still doesn't make sense, unless I'm misunderstanding you. Here is what you seem to be saying: Companies currently paying X dollars per year for employee health care when they don't have to are doing it out of generosity. Now that they face a fine/tax/whatever if they DON'T do it, really the cost is lowered in a sense - if they are paying $1500 per head either way, then the cost of the health insurance is actually X - $1500 per year. So why would the fine remove the "empathy" you are claiming is in play? It's not more expensive now that this act is in play. So ... ?
But I also disagree with your claim that it is out of "empathy" that businesses provide health benefits. Businesses provide health benefits so they can lure the highest quality employees possible, to ensure their employees are healthy and able to work, and to make sure their employees are happy and less likely to want to leave for another job. In many cases, it is more cost effective to offer health benefits because of increased productivity, less resources devoted to training new employees because you keep your current employees longer, etc. In some lines of work, it would not be cost effective. These are not going to stop being true now just because there is a cost associated with NOT providing them.
Originally posted by StaggerLeeCan't wait for President Romney gets his mandatory purchase of fire arms, and anybody who doesn't will get a big $50,000 fine. After all, if the government can force you to buy one product, they can force you to buy anything they want. Like that 10 year old car you own? Too bad the government says it will cause too much pollution, and you need to buy a new one. Slippery slopes all around.
No, this will never happen. Why would the government tell you that you HAVE to buy a car? They may tell you that the one you own isn't up to snuff and that you can't keep it, but what you do after that is up to you. There are already states that ban ownership of cars that don't meet safety and emissions standards.
I want to make clear that I don't support this legislation, but that's because I think we should be focusing on ways to reduce our reliance on insurance companies, not increasing the stranglehold they have on deciding who gets medical care and who doesn't. But if this is the way we are going to go, further pretending that "health care" and "health insurance" are the same thing, I don't think your analogy holds up. If I don't own health insurance and suffer a serious illness or injury, something a hospital would be obligated to treat regardless of my ability to pay, that has a direct impact on all people who rely on health care. If I don't own a car, I take a bus to work, or I bike, or I walk, or whatever else. Not nearly the same drain on society.
Everybody in their life HAS to have access to health care at some point. The same is not true of owning your own personal vehicle, or a gun, or whatever other silly analogies you want to introduce.
TBF--I shouldn't have ascribed a specific motive to companies providing health insurance. Before, they would provide it because they care about their employees or they want them to be more productive or just because that's the way it's always been done there. My friends have said they do it because they care about their employees. Maybe they only care about themselves. Or, maybe those two things aren't mutually exclusive. In any case, it's irrelevant to the discussion.
The point is that before the business owner was paying $4,500 for the employees to have health insurance, and now the tax/fine is used to finance government-provided health care. In either case, the business owner is funding their employees' health care. I'm making a pure economic argument.
And I agree with you on the biggest flaw of the act--it doesn't solve any of the reasons that health care costs have exploded. It's also why the act is so popular with health insurance companies. And, look at what happened to the large hospital operators' stock prices after the law was upheld (hint--they didn't go down). It also doesn't resolve the glaring inconsistencies in the treatment of health insurance costs in our tax code. I do support universal health care, just not poorly designed universal health care. We just thought health care was expensive before...
Interestingly enough, a Virginia medical examiner has ruled his death to be a homicide (cnn.com) due to wounds sustained in the 1981 assassination attempt, so, theoretically, I suppose, John Hinckley could be looking at a fresh murder charge.