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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Kevin Drum gets one wrong

Posted by: Hammer / 1:43 PM

Kevin Drum at Political Animal is usually spot-on in his analysis. Today, though, he missed the mark by a quite a bit:

Which is fine with me. A [health care] system that works better and doesn't cost any more strikes me as a huge win for everyone. Rather than overall cost, then, which doesn't matter to most people anyway (as far as most employed people are concerned, healthcare is essentially free right now) the selling point of national healthcare is freedom from the endlessly gnawing problems of our current jury rigged system. For example: HMOs that make it hard to see a specialist. High and rising copayments. Fear of losing coverage if you lose your job. Long waits for non-urgent care. New (and usually worse) healthcare coverage every time your HR department is told to find a cheaper plan.

I guess I can't speak for most employed people, but over the past seven years, my company has been handing out 3% pay raises on average, while increasing employee health care contributions and decreasing benefits. I pay a portion of the total cost of my health insurance, which is deducted directly from my gross wages. Over the last 7 years, my share of the total cost has gone up at the same time that the total cost has been rising by 10% a year.

For many people in this company, then, the increased cost of health insurance -- to them -- has actually been greater than the wage increase.

It seems to me that there are very few, very fortunate people out there who actually get "free" health insurance any more.



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