Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 7 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/3/19

Employer-Based Health Insurance Works - Until It Doesn't

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     (# of views)   1 comment
Author 503224
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Carl Petersen
Become a Fan
  (5 fans)
- Advertisement -
"Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman, and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America's health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program. "

- Bernie Sanders

I listened to the small talk as people slowly filled in around the conference table and wondered to myself how many other people actually realized what was going on. If the seemingly random makeup of the people in this surprise meeting was not enough of a clue, the stack of large envelopes, the presence of the newly appointed head of the company from our new parent company and the stranger that accompanied him should have been. My streak of 31 years of employment, 14 years with this company, was about to come to an end.

With everyone assembled, the executive started to speak. My mind went numb as he confirmed that my suspicions were true and I missed most of what he had to say. However, there were two things that came through loud and clear: the details of my severance package and the fact that my health insurance would expire at midnight. The stranger from the outsourced Human Resources department suggested that if we needed to see a doctor we should do so before the end of the day. It was 2:00 in the afternoon.

This part of the story ends well for me because my wife has a generous boss who made sure that I was retroactively added to her plan so that I would not be caught without coverage. A few weeks later I also received information from my former employer about how to sign up for COBRA and maintain coverage. I wonder how this worked for one of my former co-workers who was not at the meeting because he was with his pregnant wife who was experiencing false labor. His severance check probably paid for a fraction of the medical bills that covered the delivery.

- Advertisement -

Unfortunately, keeping a job is not even a guarantee that someone will maintain health insurance coverage. At the company where my wife used to work, the owners notified their employees on the last day of the month that they had eliminated their insurance. With no notice, these employees were left scrambling to find their own policies. Surely, this company knew of their plans in advance. Why didn't common decency, or the law, require them to give their loyal employees the chance to find alternative coverage for them and their families?

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. "

- Obama's White House

- Advertisement -

Even under less dire situations, employer-based insurance can mean massive disruptions in the delivery of health care. Almost every year my former employer would switch carriers as the plans came up for renewal. If the new provider network did not cover our existing doctors, we would have to find new ones. For someone like my wife who has a chronic condition, this means building new relationships with the multiple specialists who coordinate her care. At best, this is an inconvenience. In the event that a new doctor who is not familiar with her history misses an important change, it can be catastrophic.

Obamacare made important changes to the way our healthcare system is delivered. Prior to our marriage, my wife was unable to obtain affordable health insurance because she was self-employed and had a preexisting condition. This is no longer a problem today. Because of Obamacare, my adult son was able to stay on my policy until he earned coverage through his own job. My daughters will no longer be penalized with more expensive insurance rates because of their gender.

Despite the fact that Obamacare is based on a healthcare system that conservatives created, the GOP has spent almost a decade trying to repeal it. Even with this constant partisan bashing, 50% of adults have a favorable view of Obama's signature achievement. Still, relying on the 39% who have an unfavorable view of Obamacare, Trump has initiated the latest assault with support of a court case that seeks to invalidate the entire law, including the protections for those with pre-existing conditions, inclusion of offspring up to the age of 26, elimination of caps on lifetime benefits, expansion of those protected by Medicaid, free access to checkups and other preventative care, and subsidies for those who cannot afford coverage. What he ignores is that a significant portion of this 39% do not think that Obamacare overreached. Instead, they realize that by continuing to rely on employers to provide coverage through private insurance companies, Obama's plan is an incremental step that is doomed to fail at providing universal health insurance.

In the months before Obamacare took effect in 2013, 18% of Americans were uninsured. The month Trump was elected, this had fallen to 10.9%, a significant improvement but not enough for those who believe that health care is a human right. Under Trump, the ranks of the uninsured have gone up by 7 million and now sits at 13.7% . This is a national embarrassment.

As promoted by Bernie Sanders, a "Medicare for All" system would guarantee access to healthcare for all Americans. It would also increase individual freedom by eliminating reliance on an employer to provide this coverage. Additionally, it would also save money by removing the profits and marketing budgets of private health insurance companies. For these reasons, 70% of Americans, including 52% of Republicans support this policy. It is time for Trump, Senate Republicans, and Corporate Democrats to stop their partisan bickering over Obamacare and deliver what the American people want.

________________________________________

- Advertisement -

Carl Petersen is a parent and special education advocate, elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a "strong supporter of public schools." His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.

 

- Advertisement -

Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Carl Petersen Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linked In Page       Instagram Page

Carl Petersen is a father of five, including two daughters who are on the autism spectrum. His involvement in education issues began when the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) refused to provide services that his daughters' teachers (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Make it a Headline When Trump Actually Tells the Truth

California Senate Candidate Alison Hartson on Education

Three Headlines That Got Buried Last Week

If Money Continues to Talk, We're Screwed

Finding Hope in Florida

Bright Shiny Objects: Trump's Real Art is Diverting Attention

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments


June Genis

Become a Fan
Author 52919

(Member since Aug 31, 2010), 6 fans, 2 articles, 32 quicklinks, 880 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Employer independent medical coverage does not require single-payer. Just give all people the same tax breaks that employers get for providing insurance, have them pass on the costs they currently incur as salary increases. and let the market sort out what consumers want most in their coverage. Single payer would be a one-size fits some people type of deal but at least better than the current mess.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 9:48:28 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment