Sunday, August 23, 2009

Schwartz on Employer Mandates

The August 21, 2009 Denver Daily News published Brian Schwartz's critique of employer mandates. Here's an excerpt:
...The problem, not the solution

Government's favoring employer-sponsored insurance is the problem, not the solution. When your employer buys your insurance, it's a non-taxable corporate expense. Employers save by "paying" you with insurance instead of higher wages.

This tax policy coddles insurance companies. They need only please your employer, not you. Most employers offer just one or two plans. Want more choices? If you prefer one of the many plans available at, you face a stiff tax penalty. Or try changing jobs. Insurers know you're essentially stuck with your employer's plan, so why should they please you?

Tax-discounted insurance has turned insurance into prepaid health care. If car insurance worked this way, it would cover predictable expenses like oil changes and replacement tires. You wouldn't price compare or consider whether services were really necessary. Rather, you'd ask if "it's covered." Costs would soar. This has happened with medical care.

The tax bias for employer-sponsored insurance punishes those who incur medical conditions and then lose their job. A pre-existing condition can make them uninsurable.
(Read full text of "Not a Health Care Remedy".)

As Schwartz and others have noted, we need real change, not just further entrenching bad government policies which locks people into their jobs, stifles economic growth, and violates individual rights.

How about trying a free market?