Should businesses be required to pay for health care insurance?
One of the most important lessons I learned was in college. My friend was arguing that nothing was free. I gave him a long list of what I believed to be free and he successfully refuted every one of them. Then I thought I finally had him and I looked at him and announced that breathing was free. After about five minutes of fierce arguing I came to the realization that not even breathing is free.
Now we have people that want to use the government to force private companies to pay for their health care costs. But what is really happening here? If anyone thinks that companies are paying their health care costs then they must be naive. Why Smith? Think about this if a company did not have to pay benefits to its employees then they would be free to pay higher salaries. Every employee represents a cost to the company. The managers come to the conclusion that they need a new employee and decide they can allocate $100,000 for that position. Now from the $100k, they will pay the employee about $65,000 and they will use the remaining allocation to pay for things like social security, 401k matches, health care, vacation days, sick days, dental care, vision care and the like. If they were to not pay those benefits they would be free to pay much higher wages.
Think of it like this you enter a new car dealership to buy a car. Let’s say you have decided on a Toyota Camry. What will it cost you? The more options you get on your car the more it will cost. Seems logical right? The better anything you get will usually cost you more. What costs more? A hamburger or a steak? A Chevy Cavalier or a Chevrolet Corvette? The more you get the higher the cost, again, generally speaking. So, the more benefits you get, the higher the cost. Benefits cost money and that cost will be met somewhere. Whether it is lower salaries or higher costs to the consumer, they (costs) will be paid for somewhere.
Keep in mind that employers are not required to pay any benefits whatsoever. Benefits are a recruiting tool to attract the best talent to the company so the company can be competitive. If you would like to see the benefits that Google offers (and they are incredible!) then go to this site: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2008/.
Then there is the question of who is going to set the requirements. What kind of health insurance will it be? Will it be basic health? Will it be major medical or bare bones? Will it be required for all employees? What about under the age of 18? What about if the employee is a senior citizen and is already covered?
Will the employee have a choice of whether to take it or decline? Are you suggesting that you want the government to set the requirements? Some will probably welcome that with open arms and they are the same ones that are trying to get nationalized healthcare in place. But, that is a story for another day.
Now it would stand to reason that if you want this put into place and you know the government would have to set the requirements (after all we can’t trust evil, greedy corporations to govern themselves, can we?) then you would want the government to enforce it. How would they enforce it? They would have to enforce it with the law. It would have to become law for the government to enforce it. This would create yet another government agency that would have to inspect the companies for compliance. What would the companies have to do? Send in their paperwork to this new agency? Think about the increased cost both to the government and to the companies and then think about the increased costs to the consumers and the tax payers as we have to absorb these new costs. Yes, it would have to be the government to enforce it.
Finally, whatever happened to your freedom of choice in this country? There are people who do not wish to have healthcare. I think they are crazy, but that is their choice. There are some people who choose to not work for company A instead of company B because they will receive a higher salary without the healthcare aspect. Again, their choice. There are some business owners, usually small business owners, that choose to not offer health care benefits either because of necessity due to high costs or because they have salespeople that are 100% commission and thus receive form 1099’s at the end of the year. Do you wish to be forced into something like that? Do you not value your freedom of choice?
This would be a bad requirement for our country. It would lead to higher costs across all businesses and government. We can ill afford to implement something like this ever!