Archive for Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care debate not a new issue

March 25, 2010

Sixty years ago when I was 21, I was involved in helping the workers in my plant obtain health care. As of this writing the issue of health care is still undecided. This has been cussed and discussed for all these years and who knows when or if it will be settled.

Health care was in President Truman’s agenda as early as 1945. Here is a quote from Sept. 27, 1949, when President Truman addressed a group for Democratic Women’s Day, “We must act promptly to improve the health of our nation. The women of the country particularly know, in many areas there are not enough doctors or hospitals, that many families can not afford the medical care they need. This administration has proposed a program of improved medical care. Some parts of this program, such as expanded health care for school children and additional aid for hospital construction have already passed the Senate. Our medical program will mean happier homes, healthier children, greater opportunity for useful lives for all the people.” This was before Medicare.

We had our own health insurance before it was provided by our employer and I served on contract negotiating meetings for several years before that was agreed upon for our plant to furnish health care for the employees. This was considered a fringe benefit, and management agreed to provide health care rather than an across-the-board hourly increase. At that time it was a good thing for both management and the employees.

With the passing of 50 plus years and seeing how all of this evolved, in my opinion, it was a mistake because it removed the responsibility away from the individual employee to buy his own health care insurance. People running businesses have enough to do without worrying about health insurance for their employees. I can say this because I have been both an employee and an employer. After three generations it has become expected by all who apply for a job.

Human nature is funny. I worked with a man years ago who refused to sign up for the health care even though a very minimal cost would come out of his check. When his daughter got sick and was in the hospital he could not pay the bill. The rest of the workers in the plant took up a collection to pay the bill for him. Even after that he still refused to sign up for the insurance. This proved to me some people would not buy insurance even though they could afford it, that it is a matter of values. This is their choice, but they should not expect others to pay for their problems when they occur.

I feel that insurance is important for everyone but the premiums should be based on their income. Everyone should pay something.


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