A pair of articles which make similar points:
1. David Leonhardt in the NYT:
Greg Woock is the chief executive of Pinger, a fast-growing Silicon Valley company that makes iPhone applications. So Mr. Woock spends a fair amount of time interviewing job applicants. In almost every interview, he told me recently, the applicant asks about Pinger's health insurance plan...
In the cradle of American innovation, workers are making career choices based on co-payments, pre-existing conditions and other minutiae of health insurance. They are not necessarily making decisions based on what would be best for their careers and, in turn, for the American economy -- that is, "where their skills match and where they can grow the most," as another Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Cyriac Roeding, says. Health insurance, Mr. Roeding adds, "is distorting the decision-making."
2. Matt Welch at Reason:
Since 1986 I've missed exactly three days of work due to illness. I don't smoke, I don't (usually) do drugs or drink to excess, and I eat a pretty healthy diet. I have some back pain now and then from a protruding disc, but nothing too serious. And from 1998 to 2001, when I was a freelancer in the world's capital of freelancers (Los Angeles), I couldn't get health insurance... One of the main attractions of moving from freelance status to a full-time job was the ability to affix a stable price on my health insurance.
This is the exact opposite of the direction in which we should be traveling in a global just-in-time economy, with its ideal of entrepreneurial workers breaking free of corporate command and zipping creatively from project to project. Don't even get me started on the Kafkaesque ordeal of switching jobs without taking any time off, yet going uncovered by anything except COBRA for nearly two months even though both employers used the same health insurance provider. That incident alone cost me thousands of dollars I wouldn't have paid if I had controlled my own insurance policy.
Since my wife is currently locked into her job because we can't afford to lose the insurance coverage it provides (which is considerably cheaper than that which we'd have if we had to go on the plan offered by my employer), I'm acutely aware of the distorting effects of our health care system on the actions of healthy Americans (which is to say nothing of the myriad of problems presented for the sick). Of course, whether the Senate and House health care bills would seriously contribute to solving this problem is an entirely separate matter, though Leonhardt seems relatively optimistic about it. I'm less convinced, for roughly these reasons.Posted by eatingbark at December 17, 2009 9:57 AM