America can free employees and employers from the shackles of a health care system that depend on employment status. How many people stay in jobs they hate, where they are miserable and unproductive, to hold on to health care for them or their loved ones? How many businesses shy away from adding employees because they can not cover rising health care costs on their budget? As Bryce discovered, Wal-Mart essentially gets a subsidy from us in the form of government aid for health care for children, food aid, and housing aid for many of its workers whose salary does not cover the essentials of life.
Health security, and retirement security, that depend on your employment status were never great ideas and are now liabilities. They are the weight of dead ideas made heavy by the amount of structural and historical inertia they have.
A rich and vibrant ecology of health insurance companies, co-ops, and government programs can replace employee-based systems. The same model can be applied to retirement security. Life is full of risks to health, and the “risk” of living a full and lovely life beyond one’s working years. As a society, we can find ways to protect against those life risks and in doing so liberate employees and employers.