I try to stay out of politics, but this article caught my attention. Don’t be misled by the title: it’s not an anti-Obama diatribe but actually a good analysis of health care for small businesses. See
Why should you care?
Many years ago I read an excellent book that should be required reading for eveeryone in the US: JobShift by William Bridges. Brirdges argues that we no longer can count on jobs. We have to think of ourselves as entrepreneurs who occupy jobs that could disappear at a moment’s notice. We need to think of ourselves as crafts people who belong to guilds, whether or not we are emplooyed, and whether or not we work for a particular company.
Bridges was wise. Today, companies are cutting back on employees and staging layoffs. Unemployment insurance was designed to fill a gap for workers who were laid off seasonally. Today’s workers get laid off with no hope of returning. Often a whole industry disappears.
In many states, to claim unemployment benefits you must look for a job. In reality, you may never get a job. You may have to consider working as a “temp”: for a long time or start your own business. Those options are not allowed by most states when you collect unemployment.
Bridges’s book points out yet another element of distancing health care from employers. These days employers have become intrusive in the lives of their employees. They hire and promote based on factors not related to an employee’s productivity but on their beliefs about the employees’ effect on health care. That’s why they instituted weight loss and exercise programs. As far as I can tell, the effect on health care comes from discounts from insurance companies, not from real savings on employee health costs. It’s a little too Big Brother for me.
The WSJ article points out that the health care bill will actually harm small businesses, rather than giving them greater access to more health care options. Buried in the bill are provisions to increase the paperwork and hassle for small business, imposing requirements that are almost impossible for solo-preneurs to meet, while offering no benefits in return.
My recommendation is to read this book and write to our legislators.