Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Answer to Anonymous' Comment (see previous post)

I can understand where Anonymous is coming from, to a certain extent. I do believe that people need to be responsible for themselves, including their health. But from their post I would surmise that they are either a business owner (who can't afford or doesn't want to provide health/dental insurance) or one of the lucky upper middle class who has a job (or a spouse with a job) that does provide good benefits. It's going to be very hard for anonymous to relate to what I'm talking about in either case.

From the nerve that anonymous hit, I'd say that there are more than just a couple of us who are trying our best to use our resources wisely but still can't get ahead. Knowing what I know now, should I have gone with a cheaper home? Probably. But good luck finding a $100K home 6 years ago in a decent neighborhood. And it would take even more luck to sell ours today because it's value has dropped by $10K or more. Are there items in my budget where I could cut back (even more) and save $50-100 a month? Maybe. But honestly, that little amount wouldn't be enough to cover all the medical and dental needs we have- we would still be struggling. We do have a newer tv because our old one died, but we didn't go into debt to buy it and it's not a fancy, expensive one. I also have a cell phone, but it's the same basic (free) model I've had for the past 4 years. I don't buy designer clothing, have a new car (or car payments) or go out to eat hardly ever. Our vacations are usually close to home and we don't get to travel out of state to visit relatives hardly ever. In other words, we live pretty frugally. Am I wrong, then, for wanting some sort of a break to help with necessary care? I'm not talking orthodontics or plastic surgery here- just the basics!

As for expecting a company to pay for these needs- no, they shouldn't HAVE to provide health and dental insurance (certainly not covering the entire cost) but it used to be that companies wanted to keep their good employees and would provide perks like health and dental benefits to keep them around. I realize that with the current economy there are far more workers than jobs and companies (in general) have no need to worry about employees leaving. But look at the service you get at most places and the products that are often made. You can't tell me that treating employees like they are a dime a dozen is really that great for our country as a whole.

Would we use extra pay for health and dental if the company provided that? Well, we already do. We use after tax dollars to pay for private insurance for my daughter and myself, to fund an HSA account to pay the medical/dental bills. When my husband got a small raise, we opted for the dental insurance, which costs close to the exact amount of the raise. Even though it doesn't provide most of the coverage we need, it does provide some. It would take a much larger raise than what he got, though, to provide for what we need.

And lest anonymous think that I'm one of those draining the health care system: I see the doctor once or twice a year, am in good health (great cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) and am on no prescription medications. Same for my daughter. So we pay out of pocket for health insurance to cover us "just in case."

If I sound a bit annoyed with the whole situation, it's because I am. All I want is to be able to afford the same basics that my parents had without having to struggle every month to do so. I think employers should feel a responsibility for their stewardship over their employees. I think they should provide decent benefits when possible. And I think the system needs to be changed to make that possible again. (I understand that the costs are getting too high for a lot of smaller companies to carry.) I'm just frustrated and don't know where to turn or what to do to start the ball rolling on the changes that need to be made. It sucks to feel helpless and stuck in a system that grinds down those who often work the hardest.


Papa D said...

Excellent response, Patty. It simply isn't a simple issue.

Erin said...

I don't think you needed to defend yourself or your original post...but you did an excellent job...

Cassie said...

I see both points, as a daughter of a small business owner, to a mother whose paid the dental bills.

I see both positions, in times of disaccord we all like to state our position with the going ons to win the masses. Yet if we listen it can be enlightening.

It's sad society has gotten to a point where we need to look for help to meet our needs, yet we have as a whole the best living standards in the history of men. It has gotten to the point were living standards, no matter how frugal have exceeded wages.

We can desire to go back to a world that never existed or try to make a world that simply can't.