Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The easy healthcare solution?

It's time for another big change to the laws and tax structure surrounding corporate healthcare. 

I have been thinking a lot the last few days about the recent Supreme Court case, and while on a certain level I celebrate that the decision seems to be in favor of religious freedom, I also totally understand the other side, and can see the potential for issues in the future with other religious objections to specific medical care. 

And more importantly, I see that as long as employers are required to pay for specific healthcare there will be opportunity for employers to be required to pay for specific healthcare they fear risking their soul to provide. 

The more I think about it, the more I feel the easiest solution is for employers to offer a healthcare allowance that employees could use to buy any healthcare plan they choose (within the price range obviously, or paying extra beyond the allowance out of pocket). This would allow employees to choose the healthcare they want without the employer feeling like they are sinning by paying for medications or procedures they feel are sinful. This could be done either through a reimbursement system, or by giving everyone a raise in the amount of the healthcare allowance, which would have the added bonus of allowing frugal employees to choose less expensive healthcare plans than some of their colleagues and save or spend the rest of their paycheck for other necessities, retirement, etc!

Because employers don't really want to micromanage others' healthcare decisions. Hobby Lobby executives don't spend their time making sure their employees don't buy alcohol or porn or other things that would be in opposition to the religious beliefs of HL owners. They just don't want to buy it themselves because they feel this jeopardizes their soul, and the current healthcare system makes them feel as if that is what they are required to do. 

I also thinking moving away from corporate healthcare plans would reduce the inequalities between plans for corporations and plans for small business owners, the self-employed, and others who are not provided healthcare by their jobs. Currently, this second group of people tends to pay more for less when it comes to healthcare. But the combination of laws and tax subsidies and breaks makes giving employees money to choose their own health care plan much more expensive for employers. Our tax structure rewards the current inequity through the breaks available to companies who provide corporate healthcare plans, and we ought revise that. This would also increase competition between healthcare plans, who will have to compete for employees of the biggest companies rather than automatically getting all or none of them depending on their contracts, and this would encourage companies to offer more coverage for lower prices, which would benefit all of us. 

Your boss shouldn't be able to decide what healthcare you receive. But they also shouldn't be forced to decide between being a good boss and violating their religious beliefs. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I am not a healthcare industry insider, so I could be missing something...this solution seems like a compromise that serves all parties well though!

No comments :