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Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2016

May 7, 2012

Posted Thursday, May 10, 2012, at 3:06 PM

Today our city administrator and I will meet with our group medical insurance representative. The topic is obviously the city's medical insurance. Currently, the cost of our medical insurance is $310,000 a year; if we don't make some changes, on July 1st the cost will rise to $381,000 year.

What changes can we make? We can pass some of the cost to our employees in the form of higher deductibles or greater co-pays when they use the insurance. Or we could require that the employees contribute a portion of the monthly cost out of their paychecks as in the city will pay 90% of the monthly charge and the employees 10%. Neither of these possible solutions is palatable. The first possibility of higher deductibles makes for unhappy employees when and if they need to use their insurance, but it has the least impact especially for the majority who will not become ill. The second choice of literally requiring employees to pay part of the cost will, in my experience, result in everyone who is young and healthy dropping their coverage and leave a group of older and less healthy employees. "Older and less healthy" means the insurance company will re-examine the group and adjust the rates accordingly which means even higher rates.

What to do? Personally, I believe the American people may need to accept national health insurance whether they like it or not. For many people, the concept of national health care is not a popular one. There doesn't appear to be a viable alternative except to muddle along in a quagmire of plans and schemes which are all horribly expensive. There is really only one question to be answered. Is health care a "right" or a benefit only for those who can afford it? A "right" to health care is not enumerated in the federal constitution. Our founding fathers which are so venerated were wise enough to make that document flexible and leave us to argue about how much flex there is and where to find it. If need be, I suspect our U.S. Supreme Court can find a basis for national health care. Even if we don't want national health care, the vast majority of us are not willing to allow individuals to go untreated when they are sick or injured. The result is the morass of Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, and for some a glass jar on the counter of a convenience store. The system semi-sort-of works but in an attempt to keep us healthy, the cost is killing us. Medical insurance for my household went from over $19,000 a year to less than $4,500 when Medicare became the provider. Did I get healthier or is someone subsidizing me?

The financial report is as follows:

April 27, 2012

Balance $1,345,491.46

Revenues $67,351.37

Expenses $50,613.71

May 4, 2012

Balance $1,362.229.12

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