We have fewer than 50 employees, but I provide health insurance for each of them. It is, as Mr. King points out, a huge expense. Like him, we run on a very tight budget. Some years, we have no margin at all.
His inability to provide insurance makes my situation worse. The employees at his Shanty Grille who are uninsured will all have health care needs at some point. When they do, the costs are shifted to those who do provide health care through higher provider charges or higher premiums.
The issue is not really individual insurance. It is the health of our society. Each of us has a responsibility to contribute toward public health so that we can not only care for the sick when they need it, but also help prevent illness in the first place. Even his 25-year-old wait staff will have to learn that this is the price of a place in society.
In the current system, too much of that responsibility falls on employers, especially those who are just trying to get by.
CHARLES E. BOUCHARD
Chicago, July 10, 2013
The writer is the provincial of the Dominican Friars, Province of St. Albert the Great.
Original article on NY Times