Today’s Globe front page headlines a story about a state program that helps “pay most health insurance costs for 27,000 unemployed Massachusetts residents”.
The program is running out of money because of the recession. It’s supported by a tax on employers of $16.80 per employee per year. Per year. Get that? It means once a year.
The state wants to raise the tax in order to keep unemployed people from losing their health insurance. The tax hasn’t increased since 1990.
From the viewpoint of the poor sod (generically speaking) who’s lost his job through no fault of his own:
For Weymouth resident John Phelan, who lost his retail job in January, the prospect of the Medical Security Program going broke is unsettling. It has helped him afford to keep the insurance he had while working, so he pays just under $200 a month.
“It’s such a relief, so I don’t have to look for affordable health insurance while I am looking for a job,’’ he said. “Just knowing it’s there, should I get sick, is a huge load off my mind.’’
But the bosses have a different take:
“At some point we have to take a good look at the economy and employers’ ability to keep the doors open and decide whether we are maybe being too generous,’’ said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.
Which is to say they don’t really give a damn about the people who busted their asses to make these businesses a success and put the bosses in their fine homes and fancy cars and their kids in private schools.
A company with one hundred employees would pay less than $1,700 a year. Now if a business is in such bad shape that it can’t come up with that much in a year to help the people who built the business then maybe they should just shut their doors.
Or maybe the boss could come up with $1,700 out of his own pocket for one year at least. But of course these people would rather shoot their dog or sell their middle child than give up a dollar or admit that their employees are what make their businesses successful.
Bottom line: It’s worth seventeen dollars to the bosses to see a former employee get sick and go into bankruptcy or maybe even die.
America the beautiful. Ain’t it grand?