Small Employers Weigh Impact of Providing Health Insurance, a piece appearing in today’s the New York Times weighs the impact of the Affordable Care Act on “small” businesses and provides a great jumping off point to contemplate the impact of providing health insurance and the issue of entitlements. Reed Ableson and Steven Greenhouse interview small-ish business owners and tie the issue to the larger debate going on in the Food and Beverage sector and finally to the entire U.S. economy. The piece talks about the lack of clarity as the ACA comes on line. It also reports about the strategies of avoidance implemented or planned by employers large and small.
As far as I’m concerned, the ACA is a blunt instrument that was more about political victory than actually easing the burden of runaway health care costs. So I view this issue with a healthy dose of skepticism Nevertheless, strategies of avoidance seek to put the burden of solving this problem on others. I’m confused about the unwillingness of business owners to pool resources and come up with effective alternatives to provide affordable health care.
Here’s where I get lost: Business owners small and large complain about entitlements, they complain about paying taxes. they resist paying for health insurance; Ethically and legally hospitals cannot refuse care on the basis of ability to pay, leaving the hospitals to absorb the cost of the services, only they don’t really because they make up the losses with government money (medicare and tax exemptions) and increased fees which come from billing the insurance companies more money because . . . they are entitled to a profit; the insurance companies pass on those increases to the consumer because . . . . they too are entitled to a profit; health insurance costs rise for those companies providing it as part of their compensation package, which exerts downward pressure on their bottom line, which in turn leads to higher prices and increased employee contributions or the loss of health insurance benefits by reducing employee hours below the benefits threshold (see above for the effect) because . . . they too are entitled to a profit; this in turn removes the money from our consumer-based economy, which leads to lower profits and decreased demand for raw materials both of which result in more unemployment and less demand for products; see above for the effects . . . and another ride around the economic merry-go-round because people get sick whether they are employed or not … exhale . . . .
Risks should be rewarded. All companies are entitled to profit from their investments. that’s the American way. But there are many moving parts, including worker’s buying power which is directly related to their health And the amount they pay for health care.
Nevertheless, most businesses view the issue through the narrow lens of their particular company’s self-interest and are more than willing to let others pick up the tab for the deficiencies.
There’s a double standard when it comes to entitlement. (Turn on your irony glasses folks). There’s Mooch One and Mooch Two. Who takes more and who gives less?
Is it Mitt Romney’s allegedly deadbeat 47% on the bottom end of the economic curve who mooch off the wealthy for basic needs or those on the other side who expect everyone but themselves to pay for their success?