My Government-Subsidized Health Plan and What That Means to Joe Sixpack

I work for a company that provides above-average health benefits. My employer has even raised the ire of some municipalities in this great nation by extending those benefits to non-married partners without asking about gender or gender preference. A partner’s a partner; no need to make it complicated.

My employer, in turn, can write off the portion of the the cost of my health plan that they pay. In a big company like mine, that’s some serious money. And since I’m not taxed on the portion of the plan my company picks up, it results in a big chunk of tax money going to my health plan. It’s an untaxed benefit, and it means that eventually someone else will have to pick up the tab.

There is a dichotomy these days, where Democrats (often mistaken for liberals) are saying, “We want to cover your health for a reasonable cost,” and Republicans (often mistaken for conservatives) are saying, “That shit don’t work, we’ll get you jobs and HONORABLE health care. We’ll get you the same tax-privileged shit those Democrats who are talking down to you already have.”

The Republicans are lying; they don’t have the power to get everyone jobs. But the message resonates, even if the people hearing it don’t know about the tax privilege I enjoy. They know that the insurance an employer gives you is better, and really what else matters? If everyone has jobs, there is no problem with access to health care. The answer that comes from the rust belt Trump supporter who is about to lose his ACA coverage is, “fuck Obamacare, give me a fuckin’ job.”

The down-and-out are shooting the moon. They don’t want government support, they want jobs. I can’t overemphasize that. And they elected a guy who lied and said they would work again. Meanwhile, folks like me, who barely realize the billions our government forfeits so we can have good coverage, scratch our heads and wonder why Joe Six-pack doesn’t see what’s right in front of his face.

We have to end the hidden subsidy for my health plan, and we have to disconnect the need for health care from some weird code of honor. Health care should not be a perk. Health care is what we do for one another.

When you say, “we can’t afford single payer,” don’t forget to account for the billions in tax dollars the current system hides. I, for one, am ready to pay.

2 thoughts on “My Government-Subsidized Health Plan and What That Means to Joe Sixpack

  1. Ending subsidies for employer-provided health plan is an extremely conservative position that’s been proposed several times in the past (and is currently proposed as well, often). The problem is that it’s very difficult to take away subsidies, even for the well-off (note the screams over taking away arts funding, which mostly goes to the entertainment of the well-off). (Another solution is to provide the same tax breaks for individuals as to employers. This doesn’t help everyone, of course, but it does help more people than not doing it.)

    Breaking the connection between employment and health care has been a strong conservative position for as long as I can remember paying attention. The basic concept is that the person paying is the person calling the shots, and it should be you (as the person who receives health care) calling the shots on insurance and health care, rather than your employer calling the shots. The same principle applies to the privileging of pay-everything health plans vs. real insurance: as long as one person receives benefits but another organization pays, what you end up with is high costs and low quality, because the person receiving the benefits doesn’t care about cost, and the organization paying the bills doesn’t care about quality.

    The problem with single payer is that it doubles down on all of the problems with the current system. It’s still disassociating costs from services, and it’s disassociating control over service quality from the person receiving them. Because it’s always proposed as a federal system, it also means that the organization controlling health care is much more disassociated from the person receiving health care than even the current system.

    I just want to be able to buy health insurance. I can’t do that now, because health insurance is illegal.

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