Comments about ‘Jennifer Danielson: 'Defined contribution': The next trend in health care’

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Published: Sunday, March 30 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

This is just another way for employees to take money out of their worker's pockets and put it into their own. The shift from pensions to 401K plans was done for the same reason. It seems that our Plutocracy will not be satisfied until workers have nothing and they have everything.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

I've just read this thing twice, and I still can't tell you much about what a "defined contribution" health care policy is!

Hayden, ID

"Defined contributions" is one option for employers but their contribution is not likely to pay for all the higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles needed to cover the costs of those who receive subsidies, coverage for pre-existing conditions and mandated coverage not needed (maternity insurance and birth control for older subscribers). The real reason for all the Obamacare deadline delays is when most employees get the bad news about their higher personal costs of their healthcare coverage, there will be massive pain and suffering for the middle class which will adsorb all the financial burdens of Obamacare! Unless of course you are a member of a union or a member of congress and got an exemption from Obamacare!

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Obviously Roland Kayser has never owned a business and had to make payroll every week. He may have worked for the government which, as we all know, has an unlimited supply of other people's money! The real world doesn't work that way because unlike the government, every business I know has to compete in the real world market and only the most creative and the frugal survive, hire people, pay salaries and benefits. The rest have to lock their doors and lay people off.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Just saw my comment, obviously should have said "employers to take money out of their workers pockets", not "employees to take money out of their workers pockets".

Salt Lake City, UT

Now why didn't I think, or predict this. Of course, defined contribution to health care like defined contribution to 401K! This will be part of the grand design to destroy what's left of the middle class. The overall wealth of the country is soaring, but its going to the uppermost tier. We can afford health for all, but the guys at the top don't want to help pay for it.

The rate of surplus value, the increment of value creation for which labor is not compensated, has soared over the last 30 years. This proposal is just another building block of that scheme.

The middle and working classes have a decision to make, work 2 jobs right up to the point of death, or join the socialist movement, or do both.

And while I'm at it, I pay COBRA to BlueCross/BlueShield on my wife. The benefits are the stingiest they have ever been. Thanks for nothing.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Thid Barker "Obviously Roland Kayser has never owned a business and had to make payroll every week." Why is such obvious? This is always the knock from conservatives against socialists (and liberals).

Well I have run a business. I did sample survey (and time and motion) studies) with my business for two years. Yes, being a small business person is tough. But it was tough because I was LITTLE. "Business" covers a lot of territory. The bigger the better and easier and the less competition to be faced. The bigger a corporation the easier it is to manipulate labor and extort surplus value.

The small business person is actually close to being a employee. His "profits" are really little more than a wage - very little surplus value. Just ask me I know.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The best and most needed reform of health care is to get business operations out of the personal business of employees and pay employees only in terms of money. Businesses do not provide health care assistance as a benefit to the employees, control of the employees health care insurance is profitable to the business

The notion of open and closed enrollment is the same thing as when the farmer opens and closes the gates to control his cattle. Employees are human beings not cattle.

salt lake city, utah

It's simply beyond words that anyone who makes less than $500,000 a year would defend this trend. There is not even an attempt here to disguise the intent which is simply to pass more and more of health care costs on to the employees.

Personally I don't think health care should have anything to do with employment and this could just be one of those tipping points to push us towards a single payer system. How else will an employee who makes $50,000 a year pay for health care in 5 years.

Also to complain about mandated coverage (maternity insurance and birth control for older subscribers) is so disingenuous because health insurance has always been packed with these situations. Employer coverage has always covered breast exams, and prostate exams for everyone. Your policy probably had substance abuse treatment coverage even if you didn't drink, and the list goes on. That's how insurance works.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "pragmatistferlife" unless you work in a Doctor's office or Dentist office, or some other places that provides health care, health care has nothing to do with your employment.

Even if your employer offers health insurance, you can get insurance from any insurance company you want. But that is insurance, and not actual care.

Your employer probably does not care what you do for actual health care, unless you don't get treatment when you have a serious medical condition.

If you look into the history of employer sponsored health insurance, it goes back to when FDR put up wage caps. Businesses who wanted to get the best employees began to offer health insurance as a way of getting around the regulations.

It is amazing to see how many problems stem from government regulations.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"Defined contribution" solution is GREAT for employers.

Then they are insulated from increases in insurance rates. If the premiums go up... they can just shrug and say, "Hey, we are still giving you the same amount we've always given you, it's not our fault insurance rates are going up, not my problem".

They can also lay off about half of their HR department (cutting those salaries will be sweet for the bottom line).

But I foresee problems for me (the consumer)...

Before... big companies could use their group size as a negotiating advantage. If rates or service start to slip... they could say, "We're not happy with the service (or rates) we're getting from you anymore, so unless you improve... 2 thousand of your loyal customers are moving to your competitor".

You would be surprised how quickly they come up with a plan to show they are improving whatever it is that's bugging you.

Now one customer goes into them and says, "I'm not happy, if you don't fix it... I'm leaving". They say, "don't let the door hit ya"...

So the consumer looses some negotiating power with the big insurance giant.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It doesn't matter. Defined Contribution (like everything they are doing in Washington) is just a step. A step on the way to Government takeover of the industry.

ACA wasn't supposed to work (for you). It was supposed to work for the politicians. It was to get people who weren't insured before insured (so it becomes an "entitlement" that can't go away) and then make everybody, including those who had insurance before, so miserable with insurance companies and their rising rates that they will march in the streets insisting the Government take it over and make it better.

Problem is... Big government solutions rarely make everything better. They make a few things better, but a lot of things worse. They hope you want the few things they can make better (universal coverage, etc) more than you care about any of the things that go away (quality, choice, etc)...

Like being able to switch health insurance vendor IF you don't like them.

In Gov system... If you don't like something... So what...

They are the single-source (like the DMV)... so if you don't like their service, coverage, or rates... who cares?

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

This won't work unless the state of Utah allows many other insurance companies to operate in the state in order to compete for business and drive costs down. At least Utah is better than Wyoming that only allows a grand total of two insurance companies operate in the entire state, keeping prices sky high. Montana allows three. I'm not sure how many Utah allows but I think it is around five. Does anyone know? Whatever the case, Utah could do more to contain costs.

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