Boston Globe Examines Issues Related to Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
The Boston Globe on Sunday examined various approaches to health policy that suggest easing the reliance on employer-sponsored health insurance as a means to reduce the number of uninsured U.S. residents.
Supporters of such policies argue that the link between employment and health insurance in the U.S. contributes to the problem of the uninsured. According to the Globe, liberal and conservative lawmakers and health policy experts who support such beliefs propose "very different solutions to the problem" of the uninsured but "agree that employer-based health insurance is an idea whose time has come and gone."
Robert Moffit, director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, favors an "individual mandate" policy, which would require all individuals to purchase health insurance. Under that plan, the federal government would provide subsidies to help low-income residents purchase coverage.
The individual mandate approach is supported by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who has consulted with Moffit and hopes to enact legislation establishing such a system in his state, the Globe reports.
Susan Sered, a researcher at the Center for Women's Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University, agrees with Moffit that the U.S. health care system depends too heavily on employer-sponsored coverage but thinks that broadening government-sponsored health insurance is the best solution. She argues that under the current health care system, many U.S. residents who lose employer-sponsored coverage often become uninsured because they exceed Medicaid income requirements.
According to the Globe, other proposals include establishing "something akin to the British system," which includes both public and private coverage; addressing underlying issues of economic inequality; and maintaining employer-sponsored coverage for workers in big companies and offering more insurance alternatives to other people (Kendall, Boston Globe, 10/16).