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March 31, 2004

Worker Retention Insurance

I can't believe I've never seen this point made or thought to make it:

Yes, free flow of labor and capital are both important. ... But the major problem we have in the US is that there is no free flow of labor because health insurance is tied to the job. If health insurance were sheared off from employment, so many people would strike out on their own, establishing new businesses, and the economy would be rejuvenated.

I've been only temporarily employed for a few years now (not counting freelancing and odd jobs), and for a while I was a few hours per week under the minimum to gain health insurance benefits. Looking around, I discovered that there isn't really any area of life other than the workplace through which to secure it. Perhaps there's some aspect to the entire system that I haven't noticed, but I still don't understand why any large group (a Church, say) couldn't combine to negotiate health benefits for members.

At any rate, now that I'm working enough hours to gain the benefit, I can absolutely attest that it adds some unquantifiable degree of disincentive to risk leaving. (That's not to say that doing so is an immediate desire of mine, but one continually thinks about options.)

Posted by Justin Katz at March 31, 2004 10:33 PM

Ahh, you should be reading certain blogs more regularly, then :)

You might find the following of interest, in which I consider the point you make in the context of the overall ills of our health "system," and propose my preferred remedy - mandatory private health insurance (which exists, for example, in Switzerland). Corporate health coverage is the Faustian Bargain we made in this country in the aftermath of WWII.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Posted by: Paul Craddick at April 1, 2004 1:28 PM