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A Troubled Future For America: Health Care And Social Security Reform

1087 words - 4 pages

An analysis of a book entitled The Radical Center by Ted Halstead and Michael Lind. Authors are founders of the New America Foundation, one of the nation's most successful new public policy think tanks. Discusses chapter two of the book.(The Radical Center by Ted Halstead and Michael Lind. Published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, New York, NY. 2001.)A Troubled Future for AmericaModern America is an ever changing society. Solutions to past problems no longer fulfill the needs of the future. The people of America have also adapted to the ever changing times. The programs initiated during the New Deal era provided Americans some sense of stability however they did not have longevity in mind or take into account the changing demographics of our country. Halstead and Lind address two of these programs, employer-based health coverage, and social security reform in the book The Radical Center.Today the cost of health care has shot to an all time high. Most individuals rely on there employer to provide them and typically there family with a health care plan as one of the perks of the job. The idea of employer-based health insurance was what Halstead and Lind called a "historical accident." (p. 66) Employers' purchased health insurance for their employees because on average it is less expensive than individually purchased health insurance because it spreads risk and lowers administrative costs. In addition, employers' health benefits are tax deductible; however, the connection of health insurance to jobs means that job change or loss often results in loss of health coverage. Unemployed people could seek coverage in the individual health insurance market because this market does not link health insurance to work; however, in some states, personal market insurers can deny coverage to applicants based on their health status, age, family history, or any number of other reasons. Also, individual based health coverage is very costly to the average person. Increasingly, cases including frivolous lawsuits and massive class actions are driving up health care costs and making Americans pay the tab. Unfounded lawsuits and excessive malpractice and liability awards not only increase health care costs, but also raise the price of insurance for health care providers and patients. As premiums increase, increasing numbers of people are unable to afford the cost of insurance.The portrait of our working class no longer resembles lifetime tenure at a single place, but rather mobility within the job market. In the past the employer-based health care was more feasible because job tenure was much longer on average. Halstead and Lind explain that this trend is more likely to continue while also relying on part-time or "contingent" workers in the future. "In years ahead, both job mobility and the number of contingent workers are only likely to increase." (p.67)Halstead and Lind believe that they have found an all encompassing solution to this problem. "The solution is...

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