Health Reform May Open Employment Opportunities
Health reform could open new opportunities for workers and employers, according to U.S. News and World Report. "If healthcare reform makes insurance much more affordable to individuals and businesses, it could result in a greater variety of career options for workers. For one thing, it would reduce barriers to entrepreneurship. Reform also could make it easier for workers to leave employers to whom they are 'job-locked,' or committed to solely for health benefits-a situation more common to older workers and those with pre-existing conditions."
Reform also may benefit older workers in particular. "Some employers worry about the potential for higher healthcare costs when hiring an older worker-although in most cases, a worker who's 50 or older will be more productive than someone younger who has less on-the-job experience, according to a 2005 report by the human resources and financial consulting firm Towers Perrin, prepared for AARP." President Obama has insisted that a health care overhaul "reduce the expense of benefits for small businesses. Last year, fewer than half of businesses with between three and nine employees offered health benefits, compared with 99 percent of businesses with 200 or more employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation" (Wolgemuth, 10/5).
NPR, as part of the "Are You Covered?" series done in cooperation with Kaiser Health News, profiles a family that is self-employed and buys a high-deductible insurance plan on the individual market: "'We are not big users of health care because fortunately, we are pretty healthy people,' says Cindy Richards. 'Having said that, the way that we pay for our health insurance means that we do ration our own care. I certainly ration my own care. I don't ration the kids' care, because as any mom would, if there's really something wrong with the kids, they're going to the doctor'" (Schaper, 10/6).