Divided and Conquered by the Insurance Industry

From Tuesday’s Pawtucket Times

The tentative contract agreement, reached in private talks conducted well below the public radar, besides the 3 percent pay increase would change no other contract language, including the current lack of a health coverage co-pay.
School Committee Chairman Alan Tenreiro confirmed those details Monday night.
Addressing the lack of a co-pay provision, Tenreiro cited city teachers’ relatively low pay compared to other school districts around the state and likely union backlash, among other factors.
From Tuesday’s Warwick Beacon
Mayor Scott Avedisian has advanced a proposal that would give teachers retroactive pay increases for the last two years without requiring the School Committee to seek a substantial additional appropriation and a supplemental tax increase….
In his letter Avedisian says the City Personnel Department arrived at a $1.55 million cost for each year of the two-year deferral. He says if a co-payment for health care was also part of that package the deferred cost would drop to $728,654 for each of the years.

How is it that insurance companies successfully duck most of the ire centered on expensive and/or poor health care coverage? As is seen in the two examples above, insurance companies have convinced employers and employees to fight with one another over the ever-declining cost/quality ratio of the insurer’s product. The insurer’s choices to raise prices or to reduce or expand coverage are treated as immutable.
The ultimate solution to this problem is breaking the strange system of over-regulated corporate socialism that has evolved in this country for distributing health care. There is no law of nature that says health insurance can ONLY be purchased, at a reasonable rate, through an employer. Instead of being presented with one take-it-or-leave-plan through your employer, people should be able to shop from different insurance companies for the plan that suits them best.

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