The new Senate health care plan unveiled today is more like the “You Better Stay Healthy” plan.
In this upside-down version of America, insurance companies can sell plans that barely cover any health services. They are calling them barebones plans, and that might sound good if you never get sick or break one of those bare bones.
It’s like letting pharmaceutical companies sell sugar pills that look just like the real stuff and call it medicine. That’s fine if you actually don’t need the medicine and have a sweet tooth. And it’s like offering Americans a great deal on a car with no engine, but insisting that it works fine, as long as you’re going downhill.
This isn’t the first time Washington has tried to sell us this year on something that sounds good in theory–cheaper health plans — but is empty when you lift up the hood.
Take last week’s employment numbers. The June jobs report showed the economy had created more than 220,000 jobs last month, ahead of estimates. “Great news for US workers,” the President’s press secretary tweeted. “222,000 jobs added in June and upward revisions for both May and April.”
What he failed to mention is that at the same time the economy is creating more jobs, wages are virtually stagnant. That means more Americans are finding jobs, just not jobs that pay enough to live on.
We can call this the “Hope You Don’t Need to Live Off That Job” employment plan.
Wage growth is as important as employment in giving people a real shot at moving out of poverty and into the middle class.
At the same time, Americans are working harder than ever. According to the International Labour Organization, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.”
Yet our annual wages lag behind many other developed countries.
And what happens when people work harder and harder, but can’t make ends meet? They get stressed. And you know the #1 cause of health problems in the U.S.?
You guessed it. Stress.
But if the “You Better Stay Healthy” plan were to go through, many stressed out workers could end up with insurance plans that won’t allow them to treat those problems.
It’s like the old gag gift where you’re given a can of delicious looking nuts, but all you get is a face full of snakes.
Only this time, the joke’s on working Americans. And the bite just may be lethal.