Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Democrats' health care hypocrisy

When Bill Clinton ran for president back in 1992, he used Hawaii as an example of a successful health care system that was a role model for the rest of the country. Here is what he had to say during the October 15, 1992 presidential debate:
Now, let me say, some people say we can't do this but Hawaii does it. They cover 98% of their people and their insurance premiums are much cheaper than the rest of America...
Now see Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie's current description—from a recent email—of the poor shape of Hawaii's health care system, and thus the need for a national plan:
It's no secret. There's a healthcare crisis in Hawaii, and in the rest of the country. Medical bills are getting larger and more families are facing bankruptcy. Though most people over 65 are covered by Medicare, one of every four people in Hawaii under 65 has no health insurance, and probably has not seen a doctor in the last two years. Not only are families burdened by the costs, but healthcare providers are in dire straits, too. Our community hospitals will have to come up with $62 million this year to stay in business.
I wonder how long the U.S. will have its new, wonderful universal health care system before it becomes a crisis that needs to be fixed with more government involvement.

You should also know that since 1974 in Hawaii, employer-sponsored health care kicks in when employees work at least 20 hours per week. The result? For many low wage jobs, employers only hire for 19 hours per week. This leaves many low wage workers unable to find a full-time job. As someone who used to be a low wage worker in Hawaii, I can tell you that given the choice between universal health care or the ability to afford a roof over my head, I'd much prefer the latter. (Managing two part-time jobs is difficult, especially when they have flexible hours.)

1 comment:

  1. Health benefits through companies was originally intended as a way to attract top quality talent to a given company. When more companies started competing with wages and health benefits, many assumed that they were unduly left out of such benefits and wanted the government to take up the fight for all to be covered.

    I believe, in addition to the points you mentioned in Hawaii, that companies are also harmed when they can't use competitive wages and health benefits to attract top talent. The quality of performance declines and the product and service offerings of companies fails with it. Thus, decreasing the amount of revenues the company can earn and pay taxes on.

    Just another take on the whole arguement.