Sunday, February 18, 2007

Today's Dilbert cartoon is a funny but sad commentary on the US healthcare system. Uniquely among all European and North American countries, healthcare is linked to employment, and even more so than in Europe, employment is unstable for most people, even the rich (ie, people transition between jobs quite regularly). To compete successfully, companies have to cut costs. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing; the employer doesn't pay directly for healthcare (with some exceptions, like General Motors), but it does contract with an insurance company. The insurance company, to maintain profitability (or if it's a non-profit, just plain solvency) has to charge higher premiums or pass costs on to consumers. This cartoon is an illustration of the latter - only now, the costs have got so high that they apparently ditched the insurance plan.

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