February 06, 2007


Caption: This is a plan even a snowy goat would like.

The health care debate is heating up once again in America.

One interesting example is the recent alliance of AARP, the Service Employees International Union, and the Business Roundtable, which have joined to urge Congress to take action to address the health care crisis.

Business Week recently noted another kind of health care related economic problem: "job lock." Kelly Services Chief Executive Carl T. Camden is among those advocating a major health care fix. According to the article, titled "Held Hostage By Health Care,"

Workers, he says are increasingly shackled to their jobs for no reason other than to cling to their employer's health insurance coverage. These are people, he says, "who don't leave a job even though they're unhappy and would be more productive somewhere else."

Of all the proposals on the table, probably the least appealing are the President's, which would tax workers with good benefits, cut Medicare, and push health savings accounts.

One of the most interesting has been proposed by the Economic Policy Institutes's Agenda for Shared Prosperity, which would

extend insurance to all non-elderly Americans through a new Medicare-like program and workplace health insurance, while creating an effective framework for controlling medical costs and improving health outcomes to guarantee affordable, quality care to all.

This proposal merits serious discussion and isn't out of step with public opinion. In Sept. 2006, an ABC News/Kaiser Family Foundation/USA Today survey found that 56 percent of Americans would support a government-run program "like Medicare." More on this to come.

MINIMUM WAGE UPDATE. While we wait for more action on minimum wages at the federal level, the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign just announced that there are now 500 business owners or executives who have signed on to a statement in support of the increase. To view the statement and signatories, click here. If you know of sympathetic executives or business owners, please urge them to add their names to the growing list.

RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE DAY: The next time you are at a meeting and someone says "Are there any questions?," ask the following: "What is the square root of negative 1?"



mwildfire said...

Such pretty goats. It's nice of you to send us these pictures, so the rest of us can enjoy most of the benefits of goats without having to put up with them.
But on the health care proposal--we need a simple simple system of universal health care without the word "coverage" in there--it's time we booted the useless and expensive insurance industry out of the picture. We also need to de-link health care and employment. Connecting the twocreates a big incentive for employers to mimimize the numbers of employees,thus increasing unemployment and also making the ones who do have jobs work too many hours.

El Cabrero said...

The Spousal Unit, aka La Cabra, made goat sweaters yesterday. Putting them on was probably what you would imagine. They seem to like them though.

If you get a chance, check out the EPI plan. I think it deals with some of those concerns but also with what might be doable in the next few years, although it would be quite a reach.

I agree though that it would be better if we stopped thinking of health care as insurance and started thinking of it as something like fire protect, a basic investment we need and not a commodity.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

The President's health care proposal sucks. I wonder how he would deal with having no health insurance and no money to pay for medical needs?

El Cabrero said...

My guess is that he can't imagine not being entitled to everything...