So, About That Employer-Provided Health Insurance.
People aren’t just losing their jobs during this crisis, they’re also losing their health insurance. Do we really love this system as much as our politicians say we do?
Last Week, The New York Times shared the news that over three million people here in the United States have filed for unemployment in the midst of this global health and economic crisis. The numbers, I’m sure, have grown since then. While state unemployment websites are crashing due to the number of people applying, it’s also important that we consider that a significant number of those people have also just lost their health insurance provided by that employer. During one of the most widespread and dangerous health crises’ of the modern era, millions of people are losing their healthcare coverage and the ability to pay for treatment if they need it. For those of us fortunate enough to still be employed and have health insurance, we are being confronted with the reality that experts are already warning premiums could rise by as much as forty percent next year because of the costs this crisis is adding to the healthcare bill.
If that doesn’t sum up the cruelty of the American healthcare system, then I don’t know what does.
We are experiencing firsthand on a mass scale how absurd it is for employers to be charged with the task of providing health insurance to their employees, and the instability of the situation it needlessly puts workers in all over the country. When so many of us have already been or are preparing to be confronted with the possibility of losing their jobs, we should not have the prospects of dying because of an inability to pay medical expenses on top of it.
For years now, politicians and pundits have been insisting that the American people love their employer provided insurance, and are unwilling to give that up to be “forced in to” a government run program. But we living through the consequences of what happens when capitalism and private interests are able to dictate our health, creating the illusion of choice that simply does not really exist when someone else is determining that fate. A fate — it’s worth noting — that can have deadly consequences.
But as devastating as it is for a worker to lose not only their job but their health insurance on top of it, it only gets heavier when we consider their families who are losing their insurance as well. This crisis should serve as a reminder of the inherent cruelty and inhumanity of a system that allows an employer to have such an incredible amount of power over workers and their families. A system that has been structured in order to bind the working class to the creation of capital and profit for someone else, using the lives and health of not just ourselves but our immediate families as a constant reminder of what’s at stake should we dare leave or demand better from our employers.
If we continue to limit ourselves to the confines of the private health insurance industry, then we will find ourselves feeling the same sense of trauma and uncertainty we’re finding today. So long as our employers get to determine any sense of security we have when it comes to our health, then we will continue to subject ourselves to this trauma over and over again when we simply do not have to. Now more than ever, we should be acknowledging the necessity of a system akin to medicare for all, where our lives are not tied to profit motivations.