Sunday, August 2, 2009

HEALTH CARE - July 30, 2009

Following on the leadership in WI and 2 other states that expanded CHIP even without waiting for the US government to do its duty, the failure of Congress to enact Pres. Obama’s Health program lays upon us the obligation to do the profitable thing in that area without waiting for federal action. And the benefit is that it would be without any cost to the State while improving our attractiveness to the best kind of corporations we should be wooing. Those are the companies that make their profits by raising their incomes rather than blackmailing state and local governments out of taxes and cheating their workers out of adequate health care. I have proposed including businesses that will pay the full cost of employee health insurance be included in the plan for State workers. The cost to the State would be less than free, as the large group in operation would cost less in administrative expenses than a stand-alone private plan and would also offer a greater choice to the employees. In order to avoid any ad-hoc adherence by companies with especially sick workers, it should start with businesses of at least a minimum number of employees, a requirement to be slowly reduced as experience shows that it does not lead to losses. State employee unions might complain that this might result in greater premiums for their members. That is unlikely, but a guarantee to them against such increases would provide real benefits for the State, for possibly tiny costs. And it would be a real attraction to the kind of employers we really should be wanting. In time it could put us back in the higher-paid column again. When the new subscribers reached a certain mark, that group could be pared off from the State employees and run in tandem, but technically separate. It is a recipe for prosperity through progressive principles.

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