How's Your Health?

I came across an interesting AP story in the Boston Globe that reports the state of Massachusetts alone spent over $52 million to cover the healthcare costs of
thousands of workers at some of the state's leading employers, including major hospitals, universities and even the commonwealth itself...

Four companies -- Dunkin' Donuts, Stop & Shop, Wal-Mart and McDonald's -- had more than 1,000 employees who received public health benefits over one year, the study found.


Restaurants, retailers and health care companies dominated the list. The cities of Boston, Springfield and Worcester and the U.S. Postal Service also were named.
As I read the entire thing, I was thinking to myself that we already have a de facto but totally dysfunctional socialized healthcare system—offered to only the poorest among us and used as a last resort when problems are much worse than they could have been with routine check-ups and preventative care. Why not just get the whole socialized system sorted out already and make it work for everyone? People who can afford and still want private insurance can get it; it would probably end up a windfall for insurance companies since the most likely purchasers of private health insurance are people who are well-off and healthy. Less people buying in, but less pay-outs, too. And if it screws the insurance companies, well, I don’t really care—they’ve been screwing us for years.
Authors of the report cautioned against drawing conclusions about specific employers based on the figures. There are many reasons why an employee might not be on the company's insurance: high co-payments or deductibles, ineligibility due to part-time or recently hired status, or limited benefits for family members, for example.
None of which are reasons that should exclude someone from access to healthcare. And if employers are going to be required to provide healthcare, then it should be of a caliber that using the state-funded services isn’t distinctly more attractive.
Still, the report concludes policies and programs in place in the state now are a double-edged sword: they provide both an important safety net but also an incentive for employers and employees to shift health care costs to the public.
All part of the Great Ownership Society, which is quickly becoming recognizable as a clever moniker for the federal government’s decision to break the social contract with the people it’s meant to represent and the state governments that will be left to pick up the pieces until they are no longer able. Thanks, George, and thanks all you wankers who voted for him and his asinine policies.

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