Heathcare
Posted: 31 March 2007 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Ok, after being here for a bit and reading thru ALOT of these threads it seems that most of these threads are discussing the "technical" side of humanism.  What about the pratical side?

During a thread on another forum there came the statement that US corporations were moving overseas to escape having to pay for health care for their workers.  My question was "Why should US citizens expect corporations/companies to pay for the citizens of the US’s healthcare?" 

So far I’ve not recieved an answer other than rants against government handouts to major corporations.

How would a "humanist enlightened" society fund and or take care of it’s citizens health issues?

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Posted: 31 March 2007 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A “humanist enlightened” society functions more efficiently if its citizens are healthy.  So, it makes sense for a society to assure that all its citizens get decent health care.  If only those who can pay for it get adequate care, then many are left out.  When they are sick enough they can’t work, spread illness, go to emergency wards but can’t pay so the government ends up not getting taxes from them, having more citizens not working, and paying the emergency wards for caring for the indegent.

Other than the workers and their families, themselves, who suffers the most when the person can’t work?  The answer is the companies who employ them. 

If the government automatically paid for the health services provided for all citizens (single payer), people would get preventive care, and be treated much earlier so the citizens would be far healthier.  Where, however, would the government get the money to pay for this?  The answer has to be taxation. 

The government can tax the citizens for health care.  To assure that people have enough money to live and pay those taxes we would have to raise the minimum wage a few dollars an hour (which the employers would pay).  But the workers who are ill can’t work and can’t pay taxes.

And, workers who are laid off because their employers moved overseas couldn’t pay taxes.  This means the few still working would have to pay more taxes, so the minimum wage would go up again.  More employers would move overseas.  Soon, we’d have a very large number of people on unemployment or welfare.  There’d be little wages to buy goods, so the employers would go out of business.

Instead, we tax the employers for health care, they benefit by having healthy, productive workers, they keep the jobs in the U.S., more people get jobs and make wages, more goods are bought, the employers are happy, the employees are happy and healthy, and the only people who are upset are the conservatives who are so short-sighted they can’t understand the reasoning.

Occam

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Posted: 31 March 2007 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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A couple of points:

The humanist governing body should provide some basic needs.
  a. Education
  b. Healthcare
  c. Infastructure (or at least incentives for private companies to support)
  d. Protection of citizens and their rights. (courts and police)

Thru legislature:
  a. Enviroment
  b. Minimium wage and working environment
  c. Social Safety net.

Eveything else maybe catogorized “a want” and subject to monies availability.

And, workers who are laid off because their employers moved overseas couldn’t pay taxes.

If a company wants to move off shore to escape taxes, what then?  Besides corprate taxes are a small part of our current govenments revenue.

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Posted: 31 March 2007 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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“Why should US citizens expect corporations/companies to pay for the citizens of the US’s healthcare?”

and

Besides corprate taxes are a small part of our current govenments revenue.

I’m not suggesting that they should contribute a large part of government revenue, just that they pay enough to cover the costs of single-payer health care.  For the many employers who presently pay employee health insurance, it wouldn’t be a problem.  They’d probably actually pay less in health taxes.

I was saying that if enough employers move offshore, there will be few wage-earners and many out of work.  Those companies who are avoiding taxes also won’t have a U.S. market for their goods.  That means they’ll actually be losing sales, money, and profit.

Occam

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Posted: 31 March 2007 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I guess what I’m getting at is that it’s the govenments resposibility to cover their citizens healthcare needs NOT corporations.

Expecting American corporations to cover healthcare puts them at a disadvantage to compete globaly with other corporations that operate in countries that DO cover their citizens healthcare needs.

It actually would be an incetive for corporations to move off shore to lessen their competative burden.  And thus burden the citizens of the US with less jobs.

I think its time that the US moves in this direction.  How as a humanist do we, if it’s what we think is right to do accomplish this?

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Posted: 31 March 2007 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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So where do you think the government gets its money?

And if you say, the citizens, then where do think the citizens get their money?

And if you say, from their wages, then who do you think pays their wages?

And if you say, the employers, then what’s the difference between the employers paying the workers enough for them to pay individual taxes and paying the workers what they get now and the company paying the taxes?

Occam

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Posted: 31 March 2007 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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If companies can’t remain in the US and compete in a global marketplace then there will be no jobs to support a tax base.

Your presenting a chicken vs egg argument.  It work togeather to a certain extent but against a very different background than 30 or 40 years ago.

I’m trying to place the health of it’s citizens squarely on the shoulders of the very govenment that is suppose to be looking out for the citizen.  In a humansit society who should be looking out for the citizens?  Coporations come and go, take for exaple Digital Equipment Corp.  I use to work for them, they were the 2nd largest computer company next to IBM, they no longer exsist.  I do realise that govenments come and go too, but businesses are far more transitory than governments.

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Posted: 31 March 2007 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’m fully with Occam on this one. Corporations get tremendous benefits from government (tax breaks, opportunities to partner with government in research and create marketable products from the results, etc), and from the labor of their employees. Small numbers of individuals at the top of the hierarchies often get fabulously wealthy in the process. This means corporations have a responsibility to contribute to the well-being of the society, government, and employess who make their success possible, and not just through the goods and services they provide for fee. Helping to support a rational universal healthcare system is one way corporations can fulfill this responsibility and also contribute to the well-being of the workers they rely on the be profitable. Certainly individuals have responsibility according to their ability to support their own health, and government can leverage the money of the population and perform the necessary oversight to facilitate universal halthcare, but corporations can and should do considerably more than they do now in this respect. I’m sure we will now go through the usual Keynesian vs laissez faire argument about taxation and public services, but FWIW I don’t think the social welfare state model is nearly as moribund as the right wing and the “new” democrats claim.

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Posted: 31 March 2007 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The question to me seems to be muddled.

Humanism as a philosophy may talk about what is the penultimate moral outcome given the best of all possible worlds. And it may give some guidance on how to modify the outcome to fit the reality, but after that it is out of its league.

Then it becomes actual real world politics and humanism can only guide our values, not be used as a tool to make the tough decisions.

Governments can facilitate health care in many ways other than being the de facto provider (proven to not work very efficiently)  or by legislating forced standards that because of how theory fails to address the complicated real world, often falls short.

Government can clear the way for experts to set standards of care, and governments can maintain good international cooperation on those scientifically established standards, so that there is no easy place for a company to flee to shirk its civic duty and government can facilitate education of the population on how to get cheap and effective care, as well as publish facts about which employers meet their civic responsibility well and which fail miserably, and government can enforce healthy competition among free market providers. This all drives costs down and improves service.

The problem when government robs Peter to pay for Paul’s health has been documented time and again. It is not an especially humanistic approach if you ask me. Humanists place the highest value on each individual human, not on the community humans, the latter is communism.

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