There’s No Free Lunch

Kudos to Victor Fuchs for a JAMA article (which unfortunately is gated) and to Fuchs and Ezekiel Emanuel in a Chicago Tribune editorial that says much the same thing.  Economic statistics show what common sense should have told us anyway: health insurance and other employee benefits come at the expense of money wages.  Far from be being a gift from employers, health insurance is "paid for" by employees and health cost increases are the primary reason for stagnating wage growth.

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  1. Linda Gorman says:

    Small employers will tell you that people understand this just fine. If the employer doesn't offer health insurance, new hires will use that fact to bargain for higher wages.

    A major problem is that some fraction of people have no idea a) that they can purchase their own policies or b) haven't tried to do so because irresponsible media coverage has convinced them that it is too expensive and/or unavailable. When they are nagged into buying a policy, they are surprised by the fact that individual policies are available at reasonable cost, especially if they are in their 20s. Most people also have no idea that guaranteed issue coverage is available regardless of their health history, though the price is higher.

    Why are these simple observations some of the best kept secrets of the great health care policy debate? Cynics might point out that they don't fit with the "the system is broken and we need drastic increases in government control to fix it" meme, and that the market for individual insurance has been destroyed by regulation in many of the markets in which reporters congregate.

  2. anonymous coward says:

    i found a pdf of the cited article that’s not gated: