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View Diary: We got the good news today: our insurance premiums are going up because of Obamacare (287 comments)

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  •  I'm told it's an artifact of WWII policies (23+ / 0-)

    According to Uwe Reinhart, a Princeton healthcare economist who blogs at the NYT (and I have heard this elsewhere, so believe it to be factual), the practice of linking health care to employment was a way to get around WWII wage controls. Presumably, companies would bid for workers with fringe benefit packages when they couldn't raise wages. In addition, as fringe-benefits, their contribution to premiums was (and remains) tax deductible on their corporate taxes. This history helps explain why we have a system that is virtually unique in the world. Here are some key graphs:  

    But with the wink of the eye with which Congress routinely puts loopholes into the tax laws or regulations it imposes, the wage controls imposed in World War II did not extend to fringe benefits. And thus, employer-paid fringe benefits, including employment-based health insurance, were born.

    As was noted in last week’s post, Congress further encouraged the growth of employment-based health insurance by treating the employers’ contribution to their employees’ health insurance as a tax-deductible business expense. On the other hand, it was also not viewed as taxable compensation of the employee.

    Remarkably, and quite unfairly, that tax preference was not granted to families forced to purchase health insurance on their own. They had to buy it with after-tax dollars

    The post is from 2009, but that shouldn't affect the historical accuracy.  
    •  Thanks VV, as I was always curious about how (6+ / 0-)

      it came about that health insurance was connnected with a job.   I also believe the reason England and some Europeans have National Heath Insurance is also a by product of Post WWII.  Was that not done to help the people of Europe as they began to rebuild their towns and their lives following the war?  Was not that done to insure Europeans injured during the war, civiilans and vets, had good healthcare ?

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 02:51:18 PM PST

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      •  silly reductionist conclusion. (0+ / 0-)

        Germany started a coverage plan in the late 1800s. It was important to have a healthy population for soldiers.

        England had to move a massive population out of London when the blitz started and so had to build hospitals and health care clinics all around the country as well as furnish them with staff and doctors. That's why their system is truly socialized; the government owns the facilities and employes the doctors.

        France finally covered all its population with a mixture of private public insurance plus a lot of social benefits.

        Each country came to coverage its own way and fits its country's ethos in its own way and with local variations.

        So do we. Unfortunately our culture is profit driven and cheaters are tolerated and even admired. That affects everything including health care.

        Oh and shame and guilt are used a lot more in our society than anywhere in the industrialized world that I know of.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 01:51:37 AM PST

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