Thursday, March 10, 2016

Does Cutting Health Costs Hurt Workers?

A provocative piece from Megan McArdle's excellent blog, Cut Health Costs or Help Workers. You Can't Do Both.  Here's her thesis:
The country seems fragmented as never before. And yet there are two things that everyone can seemingly agree upon: Something needs to be done about the parlous condition of the working class, and we need to get a handle on health-care costs.

Go to a Rust Belt city or a medium-size town somewhere and start talking to folks about how they’re doing. There’s something you’ll quickly notice about the people who tell you their family is doing OK: a whole lot of them work in health care. They are the registered nurses, the LPNs, the physical therapists, the home-health-care aides, the X-ray technicians, the phlebotomists. They work at a local hospital, or a nursing home, a doctor’s office, or maybe for the school system.

Their jobs are well-paid for their educational level and the local cost of living. The work is also very stable, for an aging society needs a lot of health care, and since it is generally reimbursed by third parties, demand does not fluctuate with the business cycle as strongly as, say, demand for hairdressing or construction. And if one employer should close down, there will always be another hospital or doctor’s office somewhere that needs workers.

Health-care jobs are for today what manufacturing jobs were for our grandparents: a guarantee that you’d never get rich, but never go hungry, either.
Now, you can point out in response that anytime you cut costs you may be placing workers at risk but THC thinks Megan's point is that this is an issue of scale.  Her impressions resonate with what THC has seen in several small cities and towns.

THC likes articles that make him sit back and think a bit.  Read the whole piece.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for pointing out this article. I like the argument: I'm trying to figure out as best I can what's it like for the people who are now the center of political anger in America. I appreciate every tidbit I can use to get a picture that's not mere abstractions! You should have a working class blues tag--or a series of posts!