• CNN: My thoughts on the employer penalty delay

    I came out of holiday weekend hiding to collect my thoughts on the employer penalty delay and write them for CNN.com.

    Go read!


    • “Alternatively, you can provide them with much less comprehensive plans that meet “minimum essential coverage.” But employees can refuse this coverage and instead go to an exchange in their state to obtain health insurance. If they do, businesses will pay a penalty of $3,000 for each employee who goes to an exchange and qualifies for a subsidy from the federal government.”

      It’s not just me who sees the huge perverse problem with this right?

      At a company not offering health insurance or offering crap insurance, what worker who wants to hang onto their job because there are not many, would dare go to the exchange & risk losing the job they need to pay for the insurance bought at the exchange?

    • This is a fine piece, I am glad it was distributed widely.

      You probably could not have gone to another heart of the matter —

      which is that America has such a weak labor movement.

      The employees who do not receive health insurance have lousy bargaining power in all aspects of work.

      Therefore they are the first ones to be hurt by a law that was supposed to help them.

      In that sense, health insurance is a labor issue.

      Bob Hertz,The Health Care Crusade

      • Yes, exactly. Thank you.
        Jobs that don’t offer health insurance are naturally jobs that are of substandard quality in a multitude of ways.
        It’s not like people are making good money & just not getting offered a chance into a pooled employer health plan.

        The fact that workers take jobs that don’t offer health insurance speaks to the job market prospects they have as options (ie: it’s not good).

        Seems almost like a sick joke to try & make these employers provide health insurance, when many of these targeted employers don’t even pay well enough for their employees to eat! Their staff are on food stamps!
        I think if you ask anyone which would you rather have, health insurance, or to be able to eat for the next 2 weeks… I think most people would choose not to starve since that’s a more immediate threat to life obviously.

        Of course this is a labor issue that workers are put into this position of choices (or lack of choices) when it comes to basic needs.

        And the only way health care won’t be a labor issue is to completely divorce health care from employment. The connection has NEVER made sense to me. And laws trying to mandate employers to provide it have always led to employers finding ways around those laws. Any laws that were avoidance proof would make no sense at all, so it’s a catch 22.

    • Thanks for the solid comments.

      There is a conceptually simple solution which is this.

      Every American business pays into Medicare, both through the payroll tax and through income taxes on the best paid owners and employees.

      Some businesses add to Medicare for their retired employees. If they do, no one complains, and the employees of less generous businesses lose nothing.

      Therefore, the solution is to require an additional core contribution to Medicare that would be dedicated to help low wage employees who get no employer coverage.

      Just how generous this new entitlement can be is a very complex and important subject. I have written about this often.

      But the principle is not complex. Just do it.

      Bob Hertz, The Health Care Crusade