Work for money, not health care [60 second ideas]

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.



About Jordi

I am an assistant professor in the Management School at Bucknell University. I specialize in organization theory, social networks, and studying the network society. I have three children, including twins. They love bouncing on the couch, legos, music, and my waffles. My wife teaches English at the same university. I am interested in most things, but these days, networks, social entrepreneurs, the environment, innovation, and virtual worlds. Finding Hidden Abodes and Shaking Iron Cages since 1972
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5 Responses to Work for money, not health care [60 second ideas]

  1. Pingback: Handy Guide To Solutions Posts | Biz Gov Soc

  2. Pingback: Work for Money, Not Healthcare « Spilling Ink- Voices for Radical Democracy

  3. paplanner says:

    I like the thrust of the argument, although the conclusion of the argument seemed to disconnect from the beginning of the argument.

  4. Lynn says:

    I think that as long as we have a system where the rich can opt out of a government single-payer system, the government system will not be effective at keeping costs lower. If we look at a country which expresses among the highest satisfaction in the world with their healthcare system – France, and let it be noted that the French are not known for giving out empty compliments – we see a public-private system in which everyone participates. Social Security means health care. Everyone pays it, everyone benefits. SS does not cover all expenses, but those who cannot afford the difference can apply for government coverage to fill the gap. Those who can afford, can by a private insurance policy that covers the gap. Doctors are free agents. We are not talking about socialized medicine, we are talking about a single-payer system. The cost of healthcare is a fraction of what it is here, per person. I had surgery there 18 mos ago for an intestinal obstruction: 5 days in the hospital (they wanted me to stay two more days to make sure my intenstinal system was fully functioning but I wanted to go home), morphine, surgery, MRI, emergency room services, X-ray, follow-up care of a nurse visiting my home for 8 days and taking out my stiches, taking blood, giving me injections to protect me from phlebitis, blood analysism follow-up visit to the surgeon…and the cost to me was about $3000. The rest was covered by SS, even though I wasn’t employed there, and so not paying into the system.
    The hospital staff was very competent, the hospital stay was no-frills. They are not in the hotel business. But their priorities were right: making decisions about my care based on what was needed medically, rather than what they could justify to the insurance companies.
    It was a revelation: I learned how things could be and how we could save A LOT of money here, while serving many more people more effectively.

  5. Along the same lines and what I hope to work towards enforcing later in life (because I believe it is a better system) are health-care savings accounts. They enforce preventative healthcare and taking a stance in one’s own medical treatment.

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