While we witness what will likely be the worst election in US history in terms of outlook for future of the world, we have other battles to fight. This one concerns Obamacare, and the notion of employer-paid or subsidized health insurance. Let’s address how we got here because it elucidates an eternal struggle that has to end if we are to remain free.
The tragedy of the healthcare debacle we’re all experiencing didn’t start in the Middle Ages, nor at America’s founding. Employer-sponsored health insurance sunk its claws into the free market system not long after World War II kicked off. Since wars cost money, the Left’s favorite government programmer, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, put forth several, statist measures to manage the war and keep the country running — some by legislation, some by executive order. The 1942 Emergency Stabilization Act restricted employers’ wages and price controls. As a consequence, employers, unable to legally compete with other businesses with wages, could offer other benefits – pensions, paid vacation, and… (drum roll) health insurance.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Aided by an IRS ruling that said workers who received health benefits did not have to pay income taxes on them, and by the fact that employers could write off the cost of the health benefits as a business related expense, this accidental arrangement became the primary way most Americans access health care.
For too many, the employer-based system is inefficient. Each employer purchases health insurance separately. According to a recent estimate by the McKinsey Global Institute, this adds more than $75 billion in underwriting, marketing, sales, billing and other administrative costs that offer no health benefits. More than half of all American employers who offer health-care benefits don’t offer their employees a choice. Consequently, most Americans don’t have the option of giving their business to insurance companies that treat them well and only cover what they need. This prevents the usual market forces from holding down costs.
Workers are the ones paying for this waste. The money that employers are spending to buy health care for their employees could otherwise go to workers in the form of higher wages, empowering individuals to make their own health-care choices.
Ronald Reagan said the closest thing to eternal life is a government program. So now we all have to endure the consequences brought about by a government solution to a problem the government created.
We should be able to buy health insurance just like we buy our car insurance, from any provider in any state. This insurance should be to avoid financial catastrophe in case of serious medical illness or accident, and not to pay for sniffles. Our choice of employer should have nothing to do with what health insurance it may or may not provide, and employers should have the choice to provide health insurance or not. Health insurance is a massive drain on resources — from real dollar expense, to ungodly amounts of hours and human resources dedicated to administering this mess.
According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, from late 2015, premiums the average employer pays annually are $17,545, with employees paying almost $5,000 toward that cost. Imagine the economic boom that would happen if employers didn’t have to deal with health insurance.
If you needed any proof that government-forced health care is the wrong way to go, note that the Obama administration appears to be violating its own statute by helping health insurance companies recover their losses — on the back of the American taxpayer.
The Obama Administration is unlawfully diverting billions of dollars from taxpayers to insurance companies that sell Obamacare policies.
That is the conclusion reached in a legal opinion letter released today by former Ambassador and White House Counsel Boyden Gray.
Mr. Gray’s letter reinforces the conclusion of legal experts at the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service who found that the administration’s actions “would appear to be in conflict with the plain text” of the Obamacare statute.
Mr. Gray’s letter documents how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is diverting $3.5 billion that it was legally obliged to remit to the Treasury and instead providing it to sponsors of Obamacare policies to compensate them for medical expenses of high-cost policyholders.
In 2010, before Obamacare passed, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said this:
We see [Obamacare] as an entrepreneurial bill, a bill that says to someone, “If you want to be creative, and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, aspirations, because you will have healthcare, you don’t have to be job locked.”
Except for the implied notion of the American taxpayer footing the bill for government-sponsored health insurance (and how everyone must be an artist), none of what Pelosi said above is wrong. In fact, we conservatives champion this position regarding health care, specifically the factor of portability and individuals paying for their own plans.
To save the best medical system in the world, we desperately need the government to back off, and let the people decide what’s best for them and their families.
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/italintheheart/3704917769/. CC By 2.0; Jorge Elias