People without health insurance go to the ED–Often when
it is too late
As a result of my involvement with the passage of HB 1660 here
in Pennsylvania, I have learned many things.
The burden that the health insurance companies place on employers
is one of them.
The fact that in five years, if Single Payer is not enacted, employees
will have to foot the bill for their own health care coverage, is another.
At last weeks Single Payer, Guaranteed Health Care For All Forum,
Alan Jacobs, President of Isaac’s Deli, Inc here in the Lancaster, PA
area, gave all of us an idea of what it is like for him
and other business owners to insure their employees.
Here is the transcript of his talk:
I am Alan Jacobs, President of Isaac’s Restaurant & Deli.
We are a local employer with 20 restaurants and about about
650 employees. We have about 200 people on our health plan.
As a business person, I could talk about the economic advantages
of a single payer system, but that’s not my elevator speech
Here it is.
At Isaac’s, we play the insurance game quite well. We offer
health insurance for anyone working 25 hours a week, and that’s
helped us to retain a very loyal workforce.
So I’m an employer being successful in the current system, but
I think the system stinks.
The way I see it, I am the ultimate health insurance consumer in
our system. I buy insurance every year, and the insurance companies
work hard to give me a product that I can afford and will buy. They
try to keep my premiums low, which they do by trying to avoid
paying medical bills. (It’s like auto insurance: if you wreck your
car, your rates go up).
So their job is to deny and delay paying medical bills as much as possible,
which they think they are doing on my behalf, because they are keeping
my rates low.
As a business, I buy several kinds of insurance – Medical, liability,
workers comp, and auto. Each one of those insurances has a medical
component, and each one wants to keep my cost low by not paying claims.
Sometimes the companies fight with each other to get the other to take
on the cost. They each think they are doing me a favor, but I foot
the bill for their dispute, and in the meantime, my employee can’t get
From a health care perspective, it sure seems like the incentives are
This is not a partisan issue, but when I heard John McCain say he doesn’t
want any bureaucrat making decisions about our health care, I’m afraid
he’s a little late to the game.
Your employer – me – is bureaucrat #1. Every year, I make decisions for
my employees about how much their out of pocket expenses will be, and how
much their deductible will be, and what we will or won’t pay for.
Every couple of years when we change plans we give our employees a new
lists of doctors that are on our plan. If they are lucky, their doctor
is on our list.
If not, too bad.
We also review drug use, and each year we give our employees something
called a formulary. That’s a list of drugs that we will pay for. If their
drug is on the list, they’re lucky.
If not, too bad.
My insurance company is bureaucrat # 2. They delay payments, deny payments,
and get my employees all tangled up in paperwork so they can avoid payments
in a particular year. If my insurance company can find a loophole so they don’t
need to pay a claim, that’s good for them, and they think that’s good for me.
They are selling me a product, and they are trying to keep it affordable.
This might be all be well and good if the so called free market system was
actually working to keep costs down. However, on a global scale, we as a country
spend twice as much per person on healthcare, and our health outcomes are
actually worse. If I had an employee who came to me with the results of his
brilliant cost savings plan, and his conclusion was that it’s costing twice
what our competitors pay, and it’s making it difficult for us to provide goods
and services to our customers, but his conclusion is that we need to keep at
it because it’s the only plan that will work; I would tell him to hit the trail.
But I probably wouldn’t fire him outright, maybe just demote him, because,
he has a family, and he gets his health coverage from us.
Which brings me to my final point. When an employee gets sick and misses work,
they go through the drawn out process of losing their job because they can’t
work because they are sick, and they eventually lose their eligibility and
loose their coverage.
This is a horrible occurrence.
When a person needs insurance the most, they lose it. This is the final brutality
caused by linking health care to employment.
So that’s why I’m here tonight, lending my voice to this movement.
I presently am listening to the first debate between Barak Obama and John
Even as I ignore the smirk on McCain’s face, I know that McCain’s health
care plan is: Just Don’t Get Sick.
As the Reverend Sandra Straus emphasized in her talk last week, a true Christian
would be taking care of everyone.
And people like John McCain and his running mate pose as Christians but the
question is: Who are they, really?
Do they know who Jesus was/is? He was a real rebel, one of the first Community
Organizers, a man whose ministry was one of love, compassion and non-violence.
A true Christian would never go to war and would love their enemies.
And would uphold the right of healthcare to all of her citizens.
Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator
of the e-book called “Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover
Your Calling and Destiny.” The book is designed to stimulate
nurses to love their work and to prevent on-the-job-burnout.
Click here to find out how to order the e-book:
Check out Kate’s Blog: http://nursehealers.typepad.com
And the Lens: http://www.squidoo.com/katelovingshenk
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