September 1, 2009

Health Care Reform and the American Dream

Filed under: Health, Politics — marcstober @ 8:52 pm

Here is my recurring nightmare version of the American Dream:

1. Have an idea for the next .com, Web 2.0, etc. success story.

2. Decide I need to leave my job and start my own company to develop the idea properly.

3. Hire Cheryl on to manage the business.

4. The company grows successfully yet organically, remains a small family-friendly concern, and we are able to offer our employees health insurance.

5. One of our employees, or worse, someone in the family gets cancer, it metastasizes and requires intensive chemotherapy.

6. Our insurance company, directly through rescission or effectively by raising our rates, drops our coverage.

7. I die homeless wandering the streets of Boston.

At step 3 I am taking on extra risk by putting all the family’s financial eggs in one basket (but that’s why it’s a dream). And thankfully, things could turn out better in Massachusetts thanks to an individual mandate and non-profit institutions committed to their mission (but it’s a nightmare, too). Admittedly, I might never start my own company, but small companies like this really do exist–I’ve worked for a couple of them before my current large-organization job.

Republicans say health care reform is bad for small business. But doesn’t the current system penalize small businesses that actually provide health benefits?

Don’t we get insurance to protect against just this sort of bad luck in the first place? How can anyone (unless they’re on Medicare, and selfishly care for no one but themselves) not wish for change–and not expect their representatives to be working constructively toward it?