Care Insurance and Providers
A Brief Guide to Health Care in the United States
Employee-based health care insurance is becoming a rarity in America. Started as a worker-recruiting tool in the 1930s, America's long-standing corporate-centric health insurance system is now broken. Few small businesses can afford the exorbitant premiums demanded by for-profit health insurance companies, while large corporations - for whom labor costs are considered the greatest hindrance to profits - have for decades been cutting back on employee health care benefits (that is, benefits for the relatively small American manufacturing and production labor force that remains following decades of shipping jobs to China, Korea, Mexico, and other countries where labor can be had for pennies on the dollar).
For all the labor-side problems in corporate America, self-employed Americans bear the brunt of the nation's current health-care disaster; they are twice as likely to be uninsured than others. Skyrocketing health insurance premiums are far out-of-reach of many self-employed persons. For-profit health insurance corporations have little interest in offering affordable health insurance to individual persons or families, simply because such policies are not deemed profitable enough. In short, there are no good health insurance options for self-employed persons, other than for the wealthy self-insured. That is, the current free market system rations health insurance and health care based on the individual's wealth.
Is there any hope for non-wealthy self-employed individuals in the foreseeable future?
The current health care reform legislation working its way through Congress is supposed to make health insurance more affordable for self-employed individuals.
While the full measure of health care reform is not slated to kick in until 2013, beginning in 2010 for-profit insurers would be forced to offer insurance coverage to all Americans at more affordable prices. Whether or not for-profit health insurers will find loopholes to continue rationing care through denial of coverage and exorbitant premiums remains to be seen.