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#369963 - 12/23/0904:00 AMRe: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed?
There is little reason for the average adult in America to be uninsured.
I'm sorry, I don't understand this statement at all. Could you please explain why you think this is true? Because I don't know what state you live in, but here in Michigan, I know many, many people who are working one or more job that no longer provides healthcare coverage. These are jobs such as security guard, where a friend I know makes $10 an hour with no insurance; he's already been shot at in his first four months on the job, but his job doesn't pay enough, and isn't considered important enough for his company to bother providing medical insurance (because they know in this economy, they will be flooded with applicants without having to offer it). Then there are my friends who have been downsized from the publishing company I used to work for and have managed to keep the lights on and food on the table by turning to freelance editing work. Unfortunately, every company in the publishing industry has drastically cut the rates they pay for freelance work because--and this is really kind of horrifically funny--there is such a huge pool of qualified freelancers because every company has gone through some form of downsizing! My, doesn't that becaome a self-fulfilling prophecy (the one that says. "hey, we can lower labor costs if we downsize our staff and outsource work to freelancers; just think, we wouldn't have to pay for insurance and we'll be able to pay WAY less for the freelance work than we pay our in-house workers!")
A couple of my friends who quit voluntarily a couple years before the first wave of downsizing because they could see the writing on the wall (pun fully intended) are doing better than most at freelancing because they were the first ones into the pool. As a result, yep, they've been able to purchase private insurance--kind of. All they can afford for their family of four is, essentially, catastrophic healthcare coverage. They pay for all basic appointments and services, but at least they know they are covered if something goes horribly wrong. And gee, who knows, maybe they'll get lucky in just such a case and end up receiving some tidy life insurance benefits too. (Yes, that was morbid, but it about sums up the lunacy going on in many parts of this country.) Luckily, this family looks like somethingo out of a Greed god and goddess catalog, and their two beautiful, healthy daughters seem to have inherited their wonderful genes. All four of them are insanely healthy, and thus they have not been hugely burdened by rolling the dice on catastrophic-only care. Yet.
Those are just a couple examples. Seeing as the unemployment rate in Detroit and other cities here that relied on the auto industry is 29 percent, there are many, many more I could relate. Michigan used to be an amazing state for workers to live in, as wages were good and very good insurance was always part of the job package. Now, even those who have managed to keep their jobs in the auto industry and pretty much every other industry have had to face the same things almost every other American worker has faced--decreasing wages (at the very minimum, when compared to the cost of living index) and rapidly increasing health insurance costs. To so many others, I've heard just how spoiled Michigan workers were, and how we had it too good anyhow. That always strikes me as a real curiosity. Spoiled? Because we were able to negotiate good wages? Isn't that the American way? Aren't we supposed to bust our butts, work hard, and get rewarded for that work? Aren't we all supposed to strive to make as much money as possible, and aren't higher wages a good thing? Not anymore. Apparently, making a high wage for something as "menial" as assembly line work is, basically, a sin. Instead, anyone who makes a higher wage should be ashamed of themselves--don't they know that if they would just agree to take a 40 percent wage cut, they could keep X number of their coworkers employed? Well, ok, that's the reality now. But when did we become so complacent that we just ACCEPT the idea that we are all earning too much and that we must cut wages if we are to survive in this global market. Instead of lowering wages here in the U.S. so that we can be competitive with factories in Mexico and China (to cite just a couple) that pay $2 an hour, wouldn't it be good for everyone across the globe if we instead tried to raise the wages for workers in those countries so that they could actually receive something above slave wages for doing a dirty, mind-numbing job? Call me crazy, but that seems like a pretty da** worthy goal to me, but like sheep, we just accept the idea that U.S. workers are horribly spoiled and should just shut up and take less money to work longer hours. After all, you should feel da** lucky you have a job these days!
Even one that no longer offers health insurance.
Call me Pollyanna, I guess, as I know the idea of actually raising the working wage around the world will never, ever happen. Pity.
So, really, to get back to my original question, why is it you believe that the there is little justification for the average American to live without insurance these days? I can't tell you how curious I am to hear your answer, mainly because I thought just the opposite was true--to me, it sure seems as if having insurance is getting harder and harder these days.
_________________________ He who has a 'why' to live can bear with almost any 'how'. --Friedrich Nietzsche
Sounds like everything takes time, discipline, and patience, and those are seven things I don't have. --Jon Dore