Friday, December 11, 2009

What me? Pro Union?

My dad worked for a small place all his life and did "fine, thank you" without the benefit of any sort of union so I guess by that osmosis and observation, I’ve never been too much of a union fan.

I’m sure they have done great things over the decades and serve(d) their purpose.

But even in my short time of living in a union strong-hold in Ohio, I saw the perennial two steps forward – strike – two steps back – new contract – two steps …

But today I heard that unions in general (not sure who was actually talking) came out against one big part of health care reform – placing a tax on so-called Cadillac plans.

On some level it is hard for me to understand a health plan whose premiums runs into the tens of thousands of dollars and maybe any excise tax would only be levied on those extreme examples but …

I’ve seen it locally with our own issues and heard a spokesperson today say how the unions had given up wage increases in exchange for better health care coverage.
There are those who will say those increased health care benefits drive up costs for everybody. Don’t know, can’t say for sure.

But if an employee bargains with his employer – in this case through a union, and both sides eventually agree – how can the government step in and say “nope, we disagree and we are going to tax you for that.”?

I’m sure my health plan comes no where near the level the feds plan to tax but what is to stop them from lowering the threshold of what constitutes a ‘Cadillac plan’?

Interesting that in the days of Lexus and many other expensive cars that Cadillac has remained in the lexicon and everybody gets the meaning.

I read an article about Cleveland Clinic (in either WIRED or Fast Company – can’t find it on-line or I’d link) and while I am sure they are far from perfect, this ought to be required reading for every Congressperson before they vote on any health care plan.
Cleve Clinic puts their docs on salary – a handsome salary but one that none-the-less focuses more on results and successes rather than the volume of expensive tests and the like. It also notes a ratio of some 1,400 clerks for their 2,000 docs. Mostly to handle insurance. So where are the costs being driven up?

But back to my premise. Maybe it will take the union voices to get congress to take another harder deeper look at what their ideas for health care reform are doing to Americans. Look to places like the Cleveland Clinic who provide successful and often expensive health care BUT are trying to do it in new ways that measure results and not padding the bill.

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