Health Care Hell

You wouldn’t want to know what Horst Engineering “invests” every year in health care premiums on behalf of its employees. Of course, it pales in comparison to the real number (premiums) that a General Electric, United Technologies, or other large corporations spends on providing health care benefits to their workers. Those companies self insure, so the situation is different. I’ve written about health care before. I’ve spoken with our legislators (mostly at the state level) about the mandates that Connecticut requires. I’ve written letters. The health care mess isn’t going away. I tuned out President Obama tonight right when he started answering questions. The rhetoric is terrible. No one is going to solve this problem anytime soon. The results are going to be painful regardless of which side of the debate wins the day.

Kai Ryssdal interviewed New York Times journalist, David Leonhardt, on Marketplace tonight. I enjoyed the chat that the two journalists had on the radio. Look at the text of the interview, or listen yourself. Leonhardt said in reference to the major powers (special interests) that dominate the health care landscape, “Your waste is their income.” That says it all. The system is laden in waste, so that means huge profits for many of the key players. The insured consumer/patient isn’t even considered in this equation. All you hear about is doctors, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, politicians, and of course, the uninsured. Naturally, you hear about the uninsured. They are a big part of the problem and yes, there needs to be a solution for that part of the problem.

Even still, I think the small and mid-sized businesses are totally being overlooked. Small businesses employ more than anyone. We pay the premiums. We pay the taxes. We aren’t shirking responsibilities with shell companies in offshore locations and Cayman Island bank accounts. We aren’t shifting profits around the world to avoid our obligations. We are employing people, paying taxes, paying huge sums in health care insurance premiums, and struggling to survive in a an economic system that is hostile too.

Leonhardt went on to point out that, “…the (current) system isn’t making us healthier.” Bingo! This battle is going to rage on. Most of us are sitting back and watching this thing play out. We weigh in from time to time, but mostly, we are out of the fray while the livelihoods of many people and enterprises hangs in the balance.

I don’t know what the answer is.

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