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“Unfascising” America

“Unfascising” America: Returning to a Time when Businesses Cared for the Working Class People

How do American families raise children on household incomes of $14,000.00 per year with little or no health insurance, no overtime and no job security? How can these people purchase any type of healthcare, including “affordable” Obamacare? Under these suppressed working conditions, a single mother would never be able to legally sustain a family on her own.

It’s not fair that the heads of businesses are allowed to pocket huge profits,while their workers are barely surviving or just making it. In addition, health insurance is important for all employees – not just the executives.

We need more federal arbitration in overseeing the legalities of business. If companies don’t care for their hard working people, then our government should intervene and be mindful of loopholes in the system. For example, laws such as the Obama Care Act, have been passed to force businesses and corporations to provide their employees with health insurance. With health care being a number one priority in life and a high expense, this ensures our working class people that they will not have to worry about being able to afford their medical bills if they or their children fall ill. With a wage of $7.25 per hour, there is no other way that a single mother would be able to afford health insurance on her own.

Now, here is the real kicker. To many American businesses, revenue and profit take precedence over caring for their workers, and they find loopholes in the system to exploit their people. The consequences of not providing health insurance to employees is simply a penalty or fine that is paid at the end of the tax year. The fine for any applicable month is 1/12th x $2,000 x (total number of full-time employees minus 30). This penalty is merely a slap on the wrist to big businesses. It is actually cheaper for them to pay the fine than to provide their employees with health care. While paying the penalty is not the ethical choice, many companies choose to not provide their employees with health insurance, and as a result, their working class people suffer. In addition, if health insurance is not purchased by the uninsured employee, that employee is penalized at the end of the tax year for not being insured. [In my opinion, there is no need to penalize someone that does not have health insurance; not having health insurance is punishment enough.]

These poor ethical choices made by big businesses affect employee production and well-being. People tend to be more productive if they think their employer cares about and believes in them. Being in a suppressed employee state often causes depression, lower morale, a weakened immune system and fatigue, therefore, exploited employees are likely to not be as productive as employees that are receiving fair compensation and healthcare.
Exploitation often leads to a greater employee turnover rate as well. Due to the high cost of healthcare, below average income Americans are less likely than their counterparts in other countries to fill a prescription or visit a physician when they are sick. Fifty-eight percent of physicians in the U.S. acknowledge their patients have difficulty paying for care.[1] In 2012, 32 percent of uninsured adults reported not getting or delaying medical care because of cost, compared to five percent of privately insured adults and 27 percent of those on public insurance, including Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare.[2] Delaying medical care prolongs the healing process and increases the number of call-off days an employee needs to recover from an illness. Given the average number of personal days in America, employees are often fired for not showing up or calling in sick to work.

The businesses of America can make changes that will better the lives of our working class people. They can start by increasing wages and providing healthcare to all employees. In addition, increasing the number of employee personal days will assist in sustaining employee well-beng. If businesses and corporations want people to work well for them and be satisfied, they have to offer them something that is more than minimum wage. Afterall, healthy and happy employees are more productive employees.

[1] OECD (2013), Health at a Glance 2013: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/health_glance-2013-en
[2] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Health System Measurement Project, “Percentage of People Who Did Not Receive or Delayed Needed Care Due to Cost in the Past 12 Months.” Available at: https://healthmeasures.aspe.hhs.gov/measure/7

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