Business and healthcare

2009

I've been following the healthcare reform debate in the United States from afar with great interest. Of all the arguments for and against, one voice has been particularly silent: that of management, such as CEOs, HR, CFOs, etc. Where does business, especially big business stand on this topic? The deafening silence makes it hard to figure out.

If you take a look at your most recent pay stub, you're likely to notice a line that notes how much was withheld for your health insurance premium. Of course, many companies that offer healthcare coverage also pick up a substantial portion of the cost – at the companies' expense.

But depending on the plan negotiated by the company, the premium for family coverage can be very expensive – as in several thousands of dollars per month. Multiply that amount by the number of employees who have families and want coverage; we're talking some serious amount of cash that a company must fork out each month.

Of course, there's a reason that companies aren't complaining about this and jumping up and down, stark raving mad. I'm sure there's some sort of tax write off (as an operating expense) to help them lower their tax burden. However, wouldn't it be nice to have the healthcare system taken out of the hands of employers? Wouldn't it be nice for companies to be back in the business of running their business and putting administration back in the governments' responsibility?

Like with everything else in life, you simply need to follow the money. Companies aren't yet involved in this battle because they don't think it's in their interest. Well, even if that's true, a CEO or a CFO is still an employee and needs to get in the fight that gets healthcare access for everyone – they might even save themselves a little bit of cash.